Children as young as 12 in Connecticut could soon get vaccinated without their parents’ permission.
The Democrat state’s legislature is considering a bill that, if approved, would allow minors to get vaccinated against any recommended vaccine even if it goes against their parents’ wishes.
Currently, like in the overwhelming majority of states, children must wait until they turn 18 years old. It comes after routine vaccination uptake across the US among kindergarteners fell to a 10-year low.
Connecticut is considering allowing children as young as 12 years old to get vaccinated without parental consent (stock image)
Officials in Connecticut say they are responding to ‘the demands of constituents’, but parents have been quick to slam the move, saying their children ‘don’t have the mental capacity’ to sign up for vaccines.
If approved, Connecticut would be the first state to set the age of consent for children aged just 12. Five others have no age limits, but doctors must be sure youngsters are mature enough to get the vaccines.
Democrat congressman Kevin Ryan, representing the 139th district of Bozrah, Montville and Norwich, proposed the change to state legislation.
Explaining the move to WFSB, he said: ‘As their representative, it is my duty to express their requests and ensure their concerns have been taken seriously, especially on a healthcare issue.’
But many parents have already raised their opposition to the proposed update to the law, expressing that they should be in charge of their children’s vaccinations.
Mother Nicole Malley, who lives in Bristol just outside Hartford, also told the publication: ‘I don’t think 12-year-olds have that mental capacity to be making their own decision.’
She added that all her children are up to date on their vaccines, but said whether or not to get them inoculated was up to parents.
The bill has been referred to the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health, which oversees all health legislation in the state. It is about two-thirds Democrat and one-third Republican.
The bill, termed number 5480, says it is ‘an act allowing children 12 years of age and older to receive a vaccination without the consent of a parent or guardian.’
Vaccinations children are offered between the ages of 11 and 12 include the human papillomavirus (HPV) shot, the shot against meningococcal, and against tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.
They could also get the Covid and flu vaccines, which are available for children from the age of six months.
And they could get a vaccine they have previously missed, including the shot against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), polio and hepatitis B.
All the vaccines have been through rigorous clinical trials that have established they are safe to administer to children and provide protection against dangerous diseases.
No state has yet passed legislation allowing children to get vaccinated without parental consent from the age of 12 years.
Washington D.C. passed a similar law in 2021 allowing children to get vaccinated from the age of 11 years without parental consent.
This was blocked in March 2022 by a federal judge, who said it violated religious liberties and inhibited parents’ ability to monitor their children for adverse side effects.
A new bill has now been passed, but this allows children to get a vaccine without their parents’ consent only in cases where a vaccine provider has made a ‘reasonable attempt’ to notify parents first.
Alabama allows children to get vaccinated without parental consent from the age of 14 years, although this does not apply to the Covid vaccine after an exception was added for the shot in 2021.
Oregon says children don’t need parental consent for vaccines from 15 years old, while Rhode Island and South Carolina say children can get the shot without notifying parents from the age of 16 years.
Five other states — Arkansas, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington — apply the ‘mature minor doctrine’.
This means there is no specific age cut-off for when they can get vaccinated, but doctors must be sure they are ‘mature enough’ to make the decision before administering the jab.