Vaccinations for children when parents are separated

Whether to vaccinate or not can often be an issue between parents who are separated and whom may have differing views. If both have strong views, it will either be a yes or no.  It can then become a difficult issue and one which has been bought to the forefront recently by Covid-19 vaccines being offered to children as young as five years of age.

The consent for vaccinations is not a new issue, but with the Covid-19 vaccination available for children of certain ages, it has become more of an issue for the court to determine where separated parents cannot agree.

In a recent case before the court, the court made the following observation in relation to applying whether it was in a child’s best interests to have the vaccination:

‘…it would make it very difficult now to foresee a case in which a vaccination approved for use in children, including vaccinations against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, would not be endorsed by the court as being in a child’s best interests, absent a credible development in medical science or peer-reviewed research evidence indicating significant concern for the efficacy and/or safety of the vaccine or a well evidenced medical contraindication specific to the subject child.’

Who needs to consent?

If both parents have parental responsibility, both must consent to the vaccine. If only one parent has parental responsibility they can proceed with the vaccine.

Consideration also has to be given to the wishes of the child depending on their age and level of understanding.

What to do if parents do not agree

Clearly it is best if the parents can find some way to resolve the issue themselves, rather than via the court. If they cannot agree then the court will make that decision on behalf of the child.

Get in touch

If you wish to speak to any of the family law team about subjects such as these matters relating to children or other family law matters, then please get in touch. You can call us on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment or please fill in the form below and someone will get in touch.

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Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary.  It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.