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A New California Bill Would Allow Teens To Override Their Parents' Decision On Vaccines

Noemi Zepeda, a 14-year-old, raises her sweater's sleeve as she awaits her COVID-19 vaccine. A health worker is seen in the foreground looking down.
Noemi Zepeda, 14, raises her sleeve to get a shot at a media event that kicked off COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 in Los Angeles County. The event took place at Clinton Elementary School in Compton, Nov. 5, 2021.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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Legislation proposed by State Sen. Scott Wiener would allow minors 12 to 17 years old to get vaccinated against COVID and other diseases — even if their parents do not approve.

Right now, California teens need their parents' consent to get a shot against COVID, except in San Francisco.

The proposed law, called the Teens Choose Vaccines Act, is part of a push to increase vaccinations amid a record-breaking COVID surge, brought in partially by the omicron variant.

State Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat from Fullerton, is part of a new vaccine working group exploring this and other policy changes.

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“This is the challenge we face: how to continually work our way to a higher level of vaccinations so that that reduces the burden on the public healthcare system, but also, the economy and businesses and families as well,” Newman said.

So far, more than 72% of eligible Californians have gotten fully vaccinated. But almost 1 million 12- to 17- year-olds have yet to do so.

What questions do you have about vaccines?