Federal judge blocks DC law allowing children to be vaccinated without parental consent


A federal judge temporarily blocked the District of Columbia from enforcing a law that would have allowed children to be vaccinated without their parents’ knowledge, ruling that the law violated parents’ religious freedoms.

The law in question, the Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2020, allows children as young as 11 to be vaccinated as long as a provider deems them capable of giving informed consent.

The decision, released on Friday, comes as health officials debate the merits of recommending additional COVID-19 booster shots, and regulators and pharmaceutical companies continue to analyze clinical evidence for COVID-19 vaccines. for children under 5 years old.

Under the law, children whose parents object to vaccines on religious grounds would have access to their own medical records and providers would be allowed to seek reimbursement directly from the insurer without the knowledge or consent of the parents. parents.

The law was originally intended to allow teenagers access to the HPV vaccine and the meningitis vaccine, as it was passed before COVID-19 vaccines became available. The law only applies to vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The parents filed two separate lawsuits in July that challenged the law.

A lawsuit, filed by the father of a teenager at a public charter school, alleged the district created a “pressure cooker environment, instigating and psychologically manipulating” their child to “defy their parents and get vaccinated against their wishes.” of their parents”.

The father alleged his child was ‘medically fragile’ and had developed autoimmunity, alopecia (severe hair loss), asthma and eczema after receiving vaccinations. As a result, he said he sincerely believes he “should not inject any foreign substance into his son’s body that could harm him” and opposes the COVID-19 vaccine as well as all childhood vaccines. standard.

The trial did not identify the religion of the father. It was filed by Children’s Health Defense, an organization led by anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

A second lawsuit has been filed by a Maryland resident who says his 16-year-old daughter sought a vaccine from DC in order to attend summer camp, without her knowledge and despite her religious objections.

Justice Trevor McFadden, appointed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpNow is the time to rebuild the US refugee resettlement program Is a post-Trump media world beginning to take shape? Major government surveillance revelations don’t make a big splash MOREruled that the parents in both cases have standing and have shown a likelihood of success on the merits for these claims, as the law requires providers to conceal children’s vaccination status from parents who invoke their religious exemption rights but not to other parents.

McFadden ruled that the law “targets religious parents” by withholding information available to secular parents who file a medical exemption for their children and said it was preempted by the federal vaccine injury compensation program.

McFadden said he does not foresee a wide-ranging impact from the injunction.

The decision “will not prevent children from being immunized. Nor will it prevent the district from continuing to raise awareness of the importance of vaccines, encourage vaccinations and set up vaccination clinics in schools. The only impact will be that children will not be able to decide to be vaccinated without the consent of their parents,” he wrote.

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