State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger's Island) has filed legislation in the Alabama House requiring parents or guardians to provide written consent before minors can receive vaccinations.

Under current Alabama law, any minor who is over the age of 14 or a high school graduate can give legal consent to any authorized medical, dental or mental health treatment without the permission of a parent or guardian.

House Bill 165 (HB165) would add a short caveat to the existing law, stating that "an unemancipated minor may not give consent to the administration of a vaccination for himself or herself without the written consent of a parent or legal guardian." Regarding Alabama law, Brown's bill would raise the age of informed consent to 19 for vaccinations.

"Receiving a vaccine is a serious decision, and it is one that has the potential to result in negative aftereffects even years after it is given," Brown said. "Most minors are incapable of considering the long-term implications and may even feel pressured into receiving a vaccine, so requiring written consent is a common sense safeguard that protects the child as well as the parents."

Brown noted that vaccinations for COVID-19 were rushed out during "operation warp speed," and potential side effects that could manifest even years after receiving the shots have not been studied or tested.

The Alabama Department of Public Health currently employs the parental consent model in its vaccination guidelines; HB165 would simply codify them into state law.

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