On Oct. 20, 2020, DC Bill B23-0171, The Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2019- a bill that would permit children aged 11 or older to consent to vaccinations without parental knowledge or consent- was passed by the DC Council and was scheduled for a final vote yesterday, November 10, 2020. However, the vote was postponed until November 17th.
In addition to removing parental consent from medical decision making, the bill would also require insurance companies, schools, and other vaccine administrators to withhold the notification to parents that their child had been vaccinated.
After a lengthy period of no activity where the bill sat for nearly a year, Mary Cheh (D), the author of the bill, said that given the coronavirus pandemic, there is renewed urgency to pass the bill, stating:
“And given our ongoing pandemic and the incredible work being done to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s more important than ever I think that we reduce any and all barriers to these treatments and this legislation aims to do just that by increasing access to vaccines for minors who choose to get vaccinated but have not been able to do so.”
In 1986, The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in order to eliminate financial liability for vaccine manufacturers. But the law requires that a parent or guardian be given a copy of the CDC’s vaccine information before their child is administered any vaccines. Removing parental consent is a clear violation of the NCVIA law.
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court case ‘Bruesewitz v. Wyeth’ asserted that government licensed and recommended childhood vaccines were “unavoidably unsafe.” There is, at present, no legal recourse or financial liability to vaccine manufacturers for families when a vaccine causes injury or death. In fact, the government established its own National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in order to respond to those litigants seeking justice and compensation for severe adverse vaccine reactions. Today the payouts have reached over 4 billion dollars.
The DC bill allows for parents that filed a religious exemption for their children to be overridden by schools offering vaccination, if the child “chooses” to receive the vaccine anyway. It would likewise prohibit parents from gaining access to their child’s education records, which include health and vaccination records. Such prohibition is a violation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Interestingly, while parents would be denied this information, it would nevertheless be shared with the DC Health Department– another violation of FERPA.
If these violations weren’t alarming enough, the process by which MCVAA was legislated brings to question the legitimacy of its legislative process altogether. The bill has not been open to the public for testimony and meetings have been held virtually.
The Medical Society of DC (MSDC)- the only state medical society chartered by Congress- along with the DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics worked together with the DC Council to work on the bill. The MSDC website states specifically,
“The bill, written by councilmember Mary Cheh, was in response to the increased activity of the “anti-vaxxer” movement”
In 2019, there were 13 minor consent bills introduced into state legislatures around the country, a coordinated effort between Congress, medical societies, and media outlets to combat “vaccine hesitancy.” In 2020, 21 such consent bills were introduced into state legislatures, with NVIC anticipating more of such bills to be introduced into 2021.
Families should remain alert and informed on consent legislation in their state and make a concerted effort to contact their legislators promptly in order to stop the elimination of parental rights and ensure the safety of children, as well as secure the bastion of medical freedom in the United States.