What happens if parents disagree about giving their children the Covid-19 vaccination?
Our insight in early 2021 looked at what happens when parents can’t agree on whether to vaccinate their children generally. As we explained, where there is a parental disagreement, the Court can and will step in to make a final decision. In previous cases the Court proposed that all children should receive vaccinations which are recommended by Public Health England (PHE), including the flu vaccine, unless the specific child being considered has an underlying health condition which could be adversely affected by receiving the vaccination.
The COVID-19 vaccine has now been added to the Public Health England ‘Green Book’ vaccination list for children. As anticipated amongst the judiciary previously and in line with other cases concerning the more established MMR, HPV, and other childhood vaccinations, HHJ Rowe has confirmed in the recent case of Permission to Arrange COVID-19 Vaccination  EWFC 112 that the Court will endorse and order that the COVID-19 vaccination be given to children. The only exception to this will be where the specific child in question is suffering from a medical condition that makes having the COVID-19 vaccine medically unadvisable. This case specifically focused on healthy children of 8 and 10 years old where the mother opposed the vaccination and the father was in favour of it. The mother’s objections rested largely on the relatively new data surrounding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in children and its safety. HHJ Rowe considered the scientific evidence available for the COVID-19 vaccine but ruled that, despite being a new vaccine, if PHE advised it was suitable for children on the basis of the current science then the Court would follow the medical evidence and endorse vaccination.
If you have any concerns about the vaccinations that your child is due to have or are having disagreements about whether your child should receive a vaccination, please do contact our specialist family team who will be able to advise you about your particular circumstances.