Judge blocks D.C. law that would allow children to be vaccinated without parental permission

The law was passed in 2020 and has resulted in multiple parental lawsuits.

Updated: March 22, 2022 - 11:54am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. is preventing the city from enforcing a law that would allow children to be vaccinated without the consent of their parents.

The D.C. Council passed the Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act in 2020, which stipulates that children as young as 11 can get a vaccine without the knowledge of their parents, if a provider decides they are capable of consenting. 

The judge, Trevor N. McFadden, of the D.C. District Court, said on Friday that the law violates the religious liberty of the parents.

Two suits have been brought in response to the law, one by a D.C. father with a 13-year-old son at a city charter school. He says his child suffers from medical conditions including autoimmunity and asthma caused by earlier vaccinations, and holds the "sincere religious belief that he should not inject a foreign substance into his son’s body that may harm him."

He said his son was singled out for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and that the district has created a "pressure-cooker environment, enticing and psychologically manipulating [their minor children] to defy their parents and take vaccinations against their parents' wills."

That parent is being represented by an attorney from the Children's Health Defense, a nonprofit founded by noted vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Another parent said his teenage daughter attempted to get vaccinated without his permission so that she could attend summer camp, and the college of her choice. The parent said he had religious objections and that the child had had a severe reaction to a vaccine when she was younger. 

In both cases, Judge McFadden granted a preliminary injunction.