The DC Council passed a bill Tuesday allowing children aged at least 11 to receive vaccines that are recommended by the government without their parents’ approval.
The bill titled “Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act” was introduced in March 2019 by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh.
Twelve councilmembers approved the bill, while only Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White voted against it.
According to the new regulation, the minor requesting the vaccine must be “capable of meeting the informed consent standard.” And the vaccination in question must have been recommended by the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and provided in accordance with ACIP’s recommended vaccinations schedule.
It also requires the Department of Health to produce age-appropriate alternative vaccine information sheets; health care providers to seek reimbursement directly from insurers; allowing minors access to immunization records; and having doctors submit the immunization record directly to the minor’s school “if the parent is utilizing a religious exemption or is opting out of receiving the Human Papillomavirus vaccine.”
“A child needs to be protected against the dangers of things like measles, other diseases that cause death, and the community needs to be protected so that diseases that were once thought to be eliminated are not coming back,” Cheh said in an online press conference Tuesday.
Councilmember White, who opposes the bill, argued that parents have a fundamental right to make major decisions about the upbringing, education and care of their children.
“There have been feedback concerning the Facilities for Illness Management having stamped these stated vaccinations. For me, it’s not a difficulty of the vaccination. It’s a difficulty of the council voting to avoid the inclusion of a mother or father making a choice about their baby,” White said.
The bill needs to get another vote at the DC Council, after which the signature of Mayor Muriel Bowser is required.