The Washington D.C. Council voted in favor of a bill allowing a minor of any age to consent to receive a vaccine as long as it is recommended by the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices without parental consent. It also states that if a minor is able to comprehend the need for, the nature of and any significant risks inherent in the medical care then informed consent is established.
The final reading of the bill passed 10-3.
Dawn Richardson, director of advocacy for the National Vaccine Information Center, called it the “absolute worst” bill of minor consent she has ever seen.
“What this bill does is, it allows an 11-year old to consent to vaccines without parental knowledge or consent,” she said. “But it doesn’t stop there. It gets worse.”
Richardson said the bill includes provisions that would require vaccine administrators, insurance companies and schools to work together to conceal from the parents that their child had been vaccinated.
“It goes so far as to tell the provider they have to submit a vaccine record to the school that’s blank,” Richardson said. “They’re falsifying records to fool the parents into thinking that the child hasn’t gotten vaccinated. That’s how bad this is.”
The bill was originally introduced in 2019 but was revived due to COVID-19.
“This is not just kids in school — also homeschool kids,” Richardson said. “If you visit D.C. and take your kids for a visit, they could walk into a doctor’s office or a pharmacy and ask to be vaccinated and there’s nothing you could do about it.”
Richardson said minor consent bills violate several laws already established, including FERPA. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 shows Congress never contemplated the concept of a child getting vaccinated on their own.
When it was passed, the law said whoever administers a vaccine shall give information on the vaccine to the parents or legal representative of a child.
“These bills are completely in violation of that education happening prior to vaccination,” Richardson said.
Religious exemptions exist in D.C., but this bill will overshadow those exemptions.
“Can you imagine being a parent thinking your religious beliefs are being upheld,” Richardson said.
Then your child comes home from school with a reaction and you have no idea what it is from because you had no idea they were vaccinated.
The bill now awaits a signature from the mayor and a congressional review.