California · Health

Stiff opposition forces Calif. lawmakers to shift proposed vaccine consent age to 15

California lawmakers on Thursday amended a bill that would have let preteens be vaccinated against a range of health conditions without their parents’ consent, instead raising the proposed minimum age to 15, which would still be among the youngest in the U.S, the Associated Press reported.

Currently, minors age 12 to 17 in California cannot be vaccinated without permission from their parents or guardians, except for vaccinations to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

California state law already allows people 12 and older to consent to the Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

The bill that cleared the state Senate last month on a 21-8 vote would have allowed those age 12 and up to receive any vaccine that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including against the coronavirus, even if their parents objected. It would have been the youngest age of consent in any state.

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley said in a tweet that the bill was “nowhere close” to having the needed 41 votes to pass the Assembly.

The amendment was approved by a margin of 33-21 with three Democrats joining Assembly Republicans in opposing the age increase.

One Democrat opposing the tweak was Stockton Democrat Carlos Villapudua.

In a statement, Villapudua said the amendment, along with the bill as a whole, infringed on parental rights.

“I have always been supportive of our vaccination and public health efforts. However, I believe taking parents out of the decision-making process is a step too far,” Villapudua said in his statement.

“As a father of four younger daughters, I would appreciate being a part of this process for them, and believe all parents should have the right to be a part of it as well for their own children.”

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.