This article about a DC law that allowed vaccine consent for minors was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.
Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.
On March 18, 2022, a federal district judge — Judge Trevor N. McFadden — issued a preliminary injunction, that is, an order putting on hold DC’s law allowing minors to consent to a vaccine. The judge did it based on a flawed reading of the federal law the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), and although the federal law the judge was interpreted was passed at a time when multiple states allowed minors to consent to medical treatments, including vaccines, and the law nowhere indicated that it intended to deny states the power to allow minors to do that.
In doing so, the judge helped anti-vaccine activists reduce the choices available to teens in DC, and barred teens from being able to protect themselves from disease, putting them at risk with no real benefit (except to anti-vaccine activists who could use the decision to claim a win, and who quickly turned it to increase fundraising).
If the decision is not overturned on appeal and other judges follow this very flawed reasoning, other minor consent laws – many of them longstanding – could be put at risk.Read More »Vaccine consent for minors — Federal judge puts DC law on hold