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What can we do if we don’t agree on vaccinations for our children?

by Ridley&Hall in Family & Matrimonial, Shelley Harper posted April 21, 2022.

The covid 19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives for the last 2 years. During this time, people made lots of changes, including how they shop, who they visit, where they work, how they parent their children and whether they should get the new covid 19 vaccinations.

During this pandemic, scientists worked hard on quickly creating a vaccine to provide us with some way in learning to live with this virus. The vaccines created raised another set of concerns for people to consider, the main ones being, are they safe receiving the vaccine given that it was created so swiftly and what would happen if they didn’t receive it. Whilst us adults can make that decision for ourselves; children do not have this choice.

Whilst the vaccines were rolled out to adults initially, the government have now made recommendations, for children to be vaccinated. This initially started with children between the ages of 12 – 17 but has now been further been widened to include children between the ages of 5 – 12.

This can cause a whole plethora of issues that parents face – do they get their child vaccinated? And what happens if parents do not agree on whether their child should have vaccinations or not?

The courts can intervene in this if parents cannot agree. If there is no agreement parents can make an application to the Court for an order pursuant to S.8 of the Children Act 1989. The type of application would be known as a Specific Issue Order, which is asking the court to decide on a specific issue in respect of the child. Whilst vaccinations in the UK are not mandatory, the courts’ general view is that they favour children being vaccinated with the vaccinations that are recommended by Public Health England – covid 19 vaccinations is now one of the vaccinations recommended by them.

However, that does not mean that the courts have a carte blanche approach to vaccinating children. Parents can have many reasons for not wanting to vaccinate their child for example allergies, specific health concerns, if these are raised the courts will need to take them into consideration and may want to see expert evidence. Navigating the court process and instructing experts can often become overwhelming and confusing. This is where our family department can help.

If you are in dispute about whether your child should receive the covid 19 vaccinations or any other of their vaccinations, please do not hesitate to get in contact on our freephone 0800 8 60 62 65 with members of our friendly, experienced legal team to discuss your options.

Shelley Harper

Shelley Harper – Solicitor

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