PITTSBURGH (WENY) – New legislation unveiled by a Pennsylvania state lawmaker would give teens power over whether or not they receive certain vaccines, and require vaccine-hesitant parents to get vaccination resources and information on a yearly basis.
State Rep. Dan Frankel’s (D – Allegheny) first proposed bill would allow teens 14 and older to consent to vaccinations recommended by the United States Advisory Committee. Parents and guardians would not be allowed to override the decision, under the bill.
The legislation would mirror existing state law that allows teens 14 and up to consent to inpatient mental health treatment and sexual health treatment.
“A child does not become an adult on the night of their 18th birthday. Teenagers are making choices every day that could impact their health for years to come,” Frankel said. “Decisions over potentially life-saving preventative care should be no different. This is not a radical piece of legislation, it’s a very commonsense public health measure, and it would save lives.”
Twenty other states already allow minors to consent to vaccines.
The second bill would require parents seeking a “religious or philosophical exemption” to school vaccine requirements to get a yearly medical consultation to “stay up to date on threats to children’s health and community from communicable disease”.
“Currently, it’s easier to get an exemption from immunization than it is to actually get the shot and protect a child from preventable diseases,” Frankel said. “My legislation would correct that imbalance and help educate parents at the same time.”
The bills will likely be referred to the House Health Committee; Frankel serves as the Democratic chairman.
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