Law allowing minors to get vaccinated without consent sparks lawsuit

Parents in the nation’s capital are suing city officials over a new law that allows children 11 and older to get vaccinated without telling their parents.

Four parents of students at D.C. Public Schools filed a lawsuit last week in D.C. federal court arguing that letting children give their own consent for any vaccine recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is unconstitutional.

In the 52-page lawsuit, they took issue with a provision that allows a child’s consent to usurp their parent’s claim that the child should be exempt from a vaccine for religious reasons.

The parents said the law “substantially and unlawfully burdens the rights of parents who have lawfully objected to vaccinations on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Another provision states that medical officials do not have to notify parents if their child receives a vaccine, which the parents said violates their right to prior knowledge of and consent for vaccinating their child.

A similar federal suit was filed earlier this month by another D.C.-area parent who also wants a judge to get rid of the law.

The legal battles come amid growing debate over children’s access to vaccines as CDC officials are poised to expand the emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine to include children under age 12 this fall.

The parents filed the suits on behalf of their children who are enrolled in D.C. Public Schools, which require students to receive certain immunizations to attend school in person. Parents, however, can seek medical or religious exemptions for their children.

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