By Sophia Christensen
As of now, kids in California between ages 12 and 17 must receive permission from a parent or a guardian to get vaccinated, unless it is to prevent a sexually transmitted infection. However, a new bill was introduced on Friday by State Senators Scott Wiener and Richer Pan, allowing kids in California from ages 12 and older to receive vaccines that meet specific federal criteria. States such as Alabama, Oregon, Rhode Island, North Carolina, and South Carolina allow children under 18 to receive vaccines without parental consent. Many citizens are concerned with allowing young people to make the decision on their own regarding whether or not to get a vaccine, and they believe the new bill would get rid of parental influence and advice when it comes to children’s health. However, the issue stands that parents can be blinded by their personal beliefs to public health issues—especially regarding health. Parents’ political and personal beliefs can overpower their mindset and could be used as a control method in preventing their children from taking care of their own health. Obviously, the bill should not be used as an excuse for children to rebel against their parents. But, if parents are not willing to discuss the matter with their kids, they should have the option to protect their own health. When the parents’ own belief gets in the way, life-saving vaccines and rights over health are stripped from the hands of children.
Children ages 12 to 17 are perfectly capable and mature enough to make their own decision based on their knowledge from school and social environment. Making their own decision gives them a chance for mind growth and knowledge expansion in the medical area. If children choose not to get vaccinated, they should not feel pressured into getting one, and if they choose to get vaccinated for health and social benefits—their parents should not prevent them from doing so. If the bill is passed and the decision is all up to children, parents can still guide their children into making the right health decision.