Permits a minor,14 years of age and older, to consent to vaccination on their own without the consent of their parent or guardian

State: NJ
Bill Number: A2679
Position: OPPOSE
Action Required: NONE
Status: Died, carryover failed to move in 2023 before the session ended on 1/8/2024

Legislation Details:

UPDATE: 1/8/2024 – A2679 Died, carryover from 2022 failed to move in 2023 before session ended on 1/8/2024.  

A2679   was introduced and referred to the Assembly Health Committee on 2/14/2022. It is sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Assemblymembers Mila M. Jasey and Sterley S. Stanley

A2679 would permit a minor,14 years of age and older, to consent to vaccination on their own without the consent of their parent or guardian. 

NVIC opposes for several reasons including that this bill disregards Federal Law and a Supreme Court Decision:
  • The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (42 U.S.C. §300aa-26), a federal law, requires the parent or guardian of a minor child to be given a VIS (Vaccine Information Statement) before vaccines are given. The CDC on their Q&A page on VIS sheets Under the question “Is there a requirement to verify that parents/legal representatives have actually received and reviewed the VIS,” the answer is a clear undebatable “YES”. This bill ignores the federal law and requirement that VIS be given to the parent or guardian. 
  • When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed, Congress never contemplated or provided for a minor child making the decision to get a vaccine without their parent or guardian. The Act clearly states that before the administration of certain vaccines, a health care provider shall give a copy of the CDC’s vaccine information materials to either, “the parent or legal representative of any child to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine, or to any adult  to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine.” There is no provision in the law that allows a health care provider to give a minor child the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) materials for the purpose of consenting, without the parent’s knowledge or consent, to the administration of vaccines.
  • By receiving a federally recommended vaccine, a minor child is giving up the legal rights to file an injury claim in a federal or state civil court of law, even if the child suffers brain injury or another permanent health problem from the vaccine.  A minor child cannot fully understand the terms of the Vaccine Injury Act including the three year statute of limitations on filing a vaccine injury claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Act’s vaccine injury table lists certain injuries that may only be eligible to receive compensation if they occur within 30 days of vaccination. Minors would be solely responsible for getting confirmation and documentation that they have an injury on this chart within 30 days of vaccination and many minors can not drive themselves to the doctor or hospital.
  • States have the right to restrict minors from making major decisions without parental consent because minors lack the ability and experience to make informed and mature choices. 

The Supreme Court stated, “[T]he Court has held that the States validly may limit the freedom of children to choose for themselves in the making of important, affirmative choices with potentially serious consequences. These rulings have been grounded in the recognition that, during the formative years of childhood and adolescence, minors often lack the experience, perspective, and judgment to recognize and avoid choices that could be detrimental to them. Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968), illustrates well the Court's concern over the inability of children to make mature choices, as the First Amendment rights involved are clear examples of constitutionally protected freedoms of choice.”

As far back as 2020, bills in other states to allow minors to consent to vaccination without parental consent have been withdrawn after legislators were made aware of all the problems minors consenting to vaccines would create. Two examples from 2020 are SB 135 in Maryland and SB 104 in Virginia. - text, status, and history of A2679