RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A bill requiring minors to get approval from their parents before receiving a COVID-19 shot in North Carolina was sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.
The measure, which cleared the state Senate unanimously earlier this week, passed on Thursday with support from all but five House Democrats.
Americans who are at least 12 years old are currently eligible for the shot. Parental consent for the COVID-19 vaccine for youths between the ages of 12 and 17 would be required once the bill becomes law but only apply as long as the COVID-19 shots remain approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. The FDA may soon give the Pfizer vaccine final approval, which is the only vaccine available for children 12 years and older.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, state law “gives people under the age of 18 the ability to make certain health decisions, including the choice to get a COVID-19 vaccine, if they show the decisional capacity to do so.”
The parental consent provision is included within a bill that expands the types of medications immunizing pharmacists can administer.
In a Wednesday news conference, Cooper declined to say whether he would sign House Bill 96 if it reached his desk.
“I’m not gonna give you what you want,” Cooper said. “We’re gonna examine that legislation as it goes through the process. It does some important things that we know that we need to do, so we’re going to continue to look at it.”
As of Thursday, 262,236 North Carolina adolescents aged 12 to 17 have gotten at least one shot of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, state health department data shows. The vaccinated youth represent less than 33% of the nearly 800,000 children in that age group, far below the statewide average of 59% of eligible residents and 87% of adults 65 or older at least partially vaccinated.