Parents oppose initiative that allows 12-year-olds to decide to get vaccinated without their authorization

Latino and African-American parents oppose SB 866 by San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener, which eliminates the requirement of parental consent on vaccines for children 12 years and older, as long as they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the covid-19 vaccine.

“That is not correct and I do not agree,” said Alejandra Yáñez, mother of little Naomi Yánez, 12, who tested positive for the coronavirus. "She is just a girl and at her age I don't think she knows how to make the right decisions about her health."

Mother and daughter lined up yesterday to be tested for colvid-19 at the Cabrillo High School testing center in the city of Long Beach.

"I would first ask my mom if the idea of ​​getting vaccinated is okay," said the girl.

"The rights to my son are decided by me, not the government": criticized Juventino Sánchez, father of Juventino Sánchez Jr., 13 years old. (Jorge Luis Macias)

"The rights to my son are decided by me, not the government," criticized Juventino Sánchez, father of Juventino Sánchez Jr..., 13 years old. “He is just a child; I know what is best for him and that is why I brought him to be tested against the coronavirus.

Senator Wiener's bill language states that it "protects the ability of young people to live healthy lives, helps keep schools open and safe, increases immunization rates, and promotes public health in California."

In the “Golden State,” minors age 12 and older may consent to medical diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, drug and alcohol-related disorders, injuries resulting from sexual assault and dating violence, and mental health disorders.

However, minors cannot consent to other vaccinations and can only be vaccinated with the consent of a parent or guardian. Even if a teen desperately wants a vaccine to participate in sports, music, or see friends, a parent can simply refuse to allow the teen to get vaccinated.

Teresa Ibarra does not agree that the government decides for minors, but she does want to see more children vaccinated. (Jorge Luis Macias)

"I came out negative from the test last week, but my girl came out positive," said Teresa Ibarra, grandmother of little Dalia García, 7 years old. "It gave him like a simple flu and we gave him Tylenol."

Teresa, her daughter Rosa Gramillo, and her granddaughters Dalia and Isabella, 2, went to the covid-19 testing center because they wanted to make sure the older girl could return to Oropeza Elementary School healthy.

In relation to the SB 866 proposal, Teresa, an immigrant from Jalisco, told La Opinion that in part she would agree that the initiative advance and become law, "because there is a lot of contagion by people who are not vaccinated."

“But, on the other hand, I do not agree that they take away the right of parents to give their consent. I think that at 12 years of age, children do not have the conscience to take that step to decide about their health.”

Senator Wiener's measure states that one of the challenges that has led people not to get vaccinated is misinformation.

“The vaccine does not protect you; I believe that the most responsible way is to protect oneself with the mask; Also, if you get sick, they don't give you time to rest at home and they ask people that even if they're sick, they have to go to work,” said Ilsy López, a Guatemalan housewife from Long Beach.

Alejandra Yáñez and her 12-year-old daughter Naomi disagree with SB 866. (Jorge Luis Macías)

"And of the other [dejar a los niños decidir a los 12 años]I believe that the health of my children is my responsibility.”

Ilsy, her husband Luis and their children have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite learning that since early 2020, California has seen one surge after another of Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Since March 2020, California has experienced more than 6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 76,000 deaths.

According to the authorities, covid-19 vaccines have helped prevent a large number of hospitalizations and deaths. Unvaccinated people are up to 20.8 times more likely to die if infected than fully vaccinated people.

"The reality is that we have seen that the state of California has adopted rules where children themselves can make decisions to care for themselves, based on evidence in order to protect and improve their health," Dr. Ilan Shapiro, medical director of California, told La Opinion. AltaMed Health and Wellness Education.

Without going into the realm of politics, the medical expert pointed out that, "unfortunately, it is important that measures be taken because we are in the midst of a pandemic and the vaccine is really what is saving children and young people from a disease of more prolonged covid-19 ”.

However, he clarified that the ideal “is when decisions are made better together, within the family, that we all speak the same language and that we understand that, with the vaccine, the mask, washing hands and staying at a prudent distance helps a lot to protect children's health ".

In California, children 5 years of age and older are currently eligible for vaccines. Approximately 2.8 million children have already been vaccinated, but 3.3 million remain unvaccinated. Of those between the ages of 12 and 17, nearly a million remain unvaccinated.

Among them are little Arthur Burnside Jr. and his little sister Alicia, 9 and 7 years old, respectively.

"I would need more concrete evidence to decide to vaccinate them and vaccinate myself," said Arthur Burnside.

“I had Covid-19, but it was just a bit of a headache, a fever and I was in quarantine,” said the African-American man who is dedicated to construction. “No one is going to decide for them; just me".

Her mother doesn't want to get vaccinated either.

"I have faith in God. That's it,” said Annie Du'Ved, the children's grandmother.

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