The parents of two children disagreed on whether their young children should be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The children had immunocompromised grandparents, so one parent wished for the children to be vaccinated in order to keep the extended family safe. The other parent wanted to delay vaccination until the children turned 12, so they could make their own decision, and further clinical trials about the COVID-19 vaccination could be completed to identify its long-term risks.

It is the parents’ responsibility to make guardianship decisions regarding their children’s medical treatment, but where they disagree, the Court can make the final decision.

The Court in this case balanced the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination for the children having regard to the children’s views and the medical evidence. The Judge found that the children were healthy and there was no reason they should not receive the vaccine. The children did not hold strongly-expressed views about the vaccine, nor did their views express any knowledge about the impact of COVID-19. The medical evidence showed that the adverse health consequences of contracting COVID-19 without being vaccinated were more serious and prevalent than the risks associated with receiving the vaccine.

Furthermore, the interests of the community and family were relevant to the analysis as the children should not be viewed in isolation from their family circumstances.

The Judge therefore made an order that the children should be immunised immediately with the COVID-19 vaccine.


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