ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new bill in the New York state Legislature would allow minors to get vaccinated without parental consent.
The legislation announced Friday by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and Sen. Liz Krueger would authorize anyone 14 or older to get immunizations even if their parents object.
The two Democrats say the change is needed because too many parents have accepted unsupported claims that vaccines are unsafe. They say the problem is prompting a resurgence of diseases like measles and endangering children who cannot be immunized for medical reasons.
Earlier this week, an Ohio teen testified before Congress about how he defied his mother’s anti-vaccine beliefs by getting his shots when he turned 18. Ethan Lindenberger told federal lawmakers that more must be done to combat fraudulent claims about vaccine safety.
"You have to think of the greater good, and at the end, you're putting your own child at risk," says Assemblywoman Fahy.
Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein is on board with the proposal.
"A child who currently does not have the right to consent for his or her own immunizations is actually a victim because what if they get exposed and they can suffer some permanent disability or illness," says Dr. Burstein. "We already know that adolescents have the precedents of being able to consent for their own preventative sexual health care, so this is just really extending that law a bit."
"So, you think a 14-year-old is old enough to make that decision," said 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik.
"I think if a clinician knows the 14-year-old and can decide that this person can give informed consent, I mean, many 14-year-olds are at the developmental level where they're able to understand the risks and benefits of medical procedures,"says Dr. Burstein.
The bill's sponsors are especially concerned about measles. Hundreds of cases are reported in our state right now.
"We have to put the safety, the overall safety, of the health of the public ahead of some philosophical differences, especially when it's something on social media that has, you know, been widely debunked," says Fahy.
There are ways to check to see if you're protected against measles. Dr. Burstein says your doctor can test you or if you got vaccinated in New York State, there's a registry where you can check to see if you're up to date if you've consented to have your info in the cloud.