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Parents Sue to Protect Vaccine Authority

Two activist organizations filed suit in federal court on behalf of four parents to block a law in the District of Columbia that allows children to get a vaccination without parental consent.

The Parental Rights Foundation (PRF) and Children’s Health Defense claim the law violates parents’ rights under the Fifth Amendment, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury and Compensation Act of 1986, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

“The Supreme Court settled long ago that parents, not government officials have the authority to make informed medical decisions for their children,” said Jim Mason, PRF president and lead attorney on the case, in a news release. “This law is a poorly disguised end-around to circumvent that right and give the district the outcome it wants, even over parental objection.”

Minor Vaccination Consent

The D.C. city council passed the Minor Consent to Vaccination Act of 2020 in November on a 10-3 vote and Mayor Muriel Browser signed it into law in December. The law allows a medical provider to determine if a child over the age of 11 is mature enough to give medical consent to a vaccine on the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) list, which includes vaccines against hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases.

The law protects the district from having to inform parents if a child receives a vaccine, gives the district authority to make a claim on a parent’s insurance to pay for the shot, and prohibits insurance companies from notifying the parent.

COVID-19 vaccines are not currently listed in the ACIP, but that could change if they become fully authorized.

COVID-19 Vaccines

The argument for vaccinating healthy people under age 25 against COVID-19 is not “strong,” said Marty Makary, M.D., a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, on U.S. News.

“The risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in kids ages 5 to 17 is .3 per million for the week ending July 24, 2021,” Makary said. “The COVID-19 death risk is clustered among kids with a comorbid condition, like obesity.”

Makary says ACIP has argued for the two-dose vaccine regimen for children ages 12 and up, but two deaths raise questions.

“I wish the CDC would tell us more about the deaths of Simone Scott, 19, and Jacob Clinick, 13, both of whom died shortly after getting a second vaccine dose and developed heart inflammations,” Makary said.


-Staff reports



AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.


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