What happens when parents disagree on vaccinations?
14 January 2021 by Charlotte Knappett
In a case determined in December 2020, the Court was required to consider whether the vaccination of children should proceed when the mother objected to the children being given routine childhood vaccinations by the NHS. This included MMR and, after the father’s request, the Court extended their consideration to include vaccinations that may be required if a child travelled abroad in the future and as well as a Covid-19 vaccination.
The Court decided to limit their decision to vaccinations at that time on the NHS vaccination schedule and held that it was in a child’s best interests to be vaccinated.
The Court concluded that scientific evidence has established that it is generally in the best interests of healthy children to be vaccinated. Therefore, a Court is unlikely to conclude that vaccinations in the NHS vaccinations schedule are not in a child’s best interests. An exception may well be if there is credible development in medical science or new peer review research that indicates significant concerns about the efficacy or safety of a vaccination or if there was evidence that the vaccination could be harmful to that individual child, perhaps because of a history of allergic reactions to something contained in a vaccine.
What about the Covid-19 vaccine?
In relation to the Covid-19 vaccine, the decision not to consider it reflected the very early stage of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and the fact it was still unclear whether and when children would receive the vaccine. The Judge went on to say that provided the Covid-19 vaccination is approved for use in children, the Court is likely to consider such vaccination in the child’s best interests.