California teens will still need parental permission to get vaccines after a lawmaker pulled a measure lowering the age of consent to 15 following an “anti-vaxxer harassment campaign.”
Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francsico, withdrew the bill Wednesday, which would have let some teens under 18 get vaccines fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on their own.
“The anti-vaxxer harassment campaign worked this time, at the expense of teen health,” Wiener said in a tweet. “We lost this round but aren’t going anywhere.”
Wiener said in a statement that the vote count for Senate Bill 866 was “very close” to the 41 needed to pass the Assembly, but “we don’t see a viable path for those final few votes.”
“Sadly, months of harassment and misinformation — including death threats against me and teen advocates — by a small but highly vocal and organized minority of anti-vaxxers have taken their toll,” Wiener said.
“The health of young people will suffer as a result,” he added. “SB 866 did nothing more than empower young people to protect their own health, even if their parents have been brain-washed by anti-vax propaganda or are abusive or neglectful.”
Current law allows children and teens 12 and older to receive certain vaccines without parental consent, but only those related to sexually transmitted disease prevention, including Hepatitis B and the Human papillomavirus.
The bill originally used the same 12-and-older-age threshold already in place for STD vaccines. He later amended the measure to raise the age limit to 15, which he said lawmakers were more comfortable supporting.
Wiener said the 15-and-older age group would still “sweep in almost all of high school” and would still allow vaccinations for the teens most able to seek them out on their own.
SB 866 has been controversial among Republicans and anti-vaccine groups, which say the measure would take away parents’ right to make decisions about their children’s medical treatment.
Bill opponents have said allowing teens under 18 to seek vaccines is dangerous, because they may not have necessary knowledge of their medical history.