|Posted:||July 1, 2021 10:59 AM|
|From:||Representative Dan Frankel|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Empowering Teens to Protect Their Health|
|Soon, I will introduce legislation to allow people age 14 or over to consent to immunizations recommended by the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Parents or guardians would not be able to override a minor’s consent for vaccination if the minor is age 14 or over.
A June 26 New York Times article told the stories of several young people who sought to follow the advice of public health experts but found themselves obstructed by consent requirements.
We know that vaccines are safe and effective. We know that not all teens are living with their parents, that not all parents are in a position to make these decisions and that gaining consent can create practical obstacles to taking this important step to protect the teen from infection.
The lifestyle of teenagers puts them at great risk for communicable diseases like COVID-19. They go to summer camps, spend time in youth groups, on sports teams, or in crowded classrooms.
They are also more likely to fill jobs with high exposure to the public, in grocery stores, movie theaters and retail establishments.
As the commonwealth works to effectively vaccinate Pennsylvanians for COVID-19, we must remember the importance of other immunizations as well, and give older minors the ability to access all recommended immunizations.
In 2018, the United States saw the second-highest rate of measles cases since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. In Pennsylvania, there are over 12,500 students in school whose parents opted out of the vaccinations required by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Many of these students may want to be vaccinated, but have no way of doing so without parental or guardian consent under Pennsylvania law.
Pennsylvania law already allows minors age 14 and over to consent to inpatient mental health treatment. This bill will largely mirror the mental health law to allow minors 14 and over to consent to CDC-recommended immunizations.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to protect our commonwealth from preventable diseases and empower minors to make the best decision for themselves and their communities.
Introduced as HB1818