By Julie Zauzmer
Oct. 20, 2020 at 4:11 p.m. EDT
A bill passed by the D.C. Council on Tuesday would allow children as young as age 11 to obtain vaccinations without their parents’ consent.
Under the legislation, if a doctor determines that a minor is capable of informed consent, they would be able to seek government-recommended vaccinations their parents object to on religious grounds. They also could get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus — which is recommended for older children but opposed by some parents because the virus is sexually transmitted and they object to their teenagers having sex.
The bill, which was approved 12 to 1, requires that the doctor send the vaccination record in such cases to the child’s school, rather than to the parents, and seek compensation directly from the insurance company without involving the parents.
The idea for the legislation was born out of measles outbreaks in the United States last year, but council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7), who shepherded it to passage as chair of the health committee, said the hope of an imminent corona¬virus vaccine gave the bill new urgency.
“One thing that we’ve learned from covid, for example, is that policymakers, lawmakers, need to make science-driven decisions about public-health policy,” Gray said at a breakfast for council members before the legislative meeting Tuesday.
To become law, the bill must pass a second vote of the council and then go to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) for her signature.
Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) voted against the legislation. White, who has a 12-year-old son, said he sees 11-year-olds as too young to make independent decisions about their medical care.