NC Senate, House OKs bill requiring parental consent for minors to get COVID-19 vaccine

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Young people would need parental permission now before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina legislation approved unanimously Tuesday by the state Senate and by a massive majority on Thursday by the state House.

The bill, which was returned to the House for consideration, contains a parent or guardian requirement for vaccines approved by federal regulators for emergency use, such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It’s currently the only coronavirus vaccine available to children as young as 12.

North Carolina law currently allows those under 18 to make the vaccine decision on their own “if they show the decisional capacity to do so,” according to the state Department of Health Human Services.

DHHS says it’s expected most teens would receive parental consent. But legislators wanted more assurances that parents will have the say over whether their child gets an immunization still authorized for emergency use.

The consent provision is contained within a bill that also would expand the types of medications immunizing pharmacists can administer.

The state health director would issue standing orders for immunizing pharmacists to administer more medications to customers without an additional doctor’s prescription. Those medications would include certain nicotine smoking cessation programs, some oral contraceptives or those delivered through a skin patch, and prenatal vitamins.

This expansion would allow more access to health care in rural and smaller counties that lack physicians and OB-GYNs, said Sen. Jim Burgin, a Harnett County Republican shepherding the bill.

The House passed the bill on Thursday by a 106-5 vote. It will now go to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

— CBS 17 contributed to this report

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