The rise of the Coronavirus pandemic has brought much disagreement amongst couples and former partners alike when it comes to vaccinating children. It is a contentious issue for many whether a partner does or does not want to get vaccinated. However, this issue can be further exacerbated when children are involved, and the parents do not agree on the course of action to undertake.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the situation where parents disagree on whether their kids should get vaccinated.
Resolving a Disagreement Informally
If the other parent of your children does not want the children vaccinated, it is best to avoid shaming or arguing to persuade them on giving their blessing for the vaccination. Alternatively, the best grounds for informally resolving the dispute would be to research the topic and find credible resources that illustrate the benefits of immunisation instead of being unvaccinated.
At this point, you should actively listen to their concerns, and from here, provide them with the facts. The most commonly cited reason for individuals not wanting their children vaccinated relates to the uncertainty in the long-term side effects. This is a legitimate concern; however, some facts weigh against this reasoning.
Firstly, SARS is the medical term for Coronavirus, which is nothing new and has been around since 2002. The medical term for Covid-19 as we know it is SARS-CoV-2, which means that the current vaccines, although are different, are not that different from the original formulations utilised for the first SARS variant.
Secondly, by analogy, most vaccines’ long-term side effects are known within a few months of trials. Some Covid-19 vaccines have now been trailed for more than a year.
Ultimately, the concern of the long-term side effects is still valid. However, the critical discussion point amongst parents should be the potential risk of getting vaccinated versus the risk of not vaccinating and potentially having your children contract the virus.
Family Law & Getting Your Children Vaccinated
Disputes amongst parents regarding the immunisation of children is nothing new. The issue has always existed regarding children getting vaccinated for Meningococcal, HPV and even the flu. It can even become an issue where immunisation is needed before a child goes overseas for a holiday. One parent may wish to take immunisation precautions, and the other doesn’t.
If parents cannot agree on the matter and the issue proceeds to Court, the Court will ultimately decide based on the child’s best interests. The best interests of the child are a set of principles enshrined in s60CA of the Family Law Act. The section provides that in deciding whether to make any parenting order concerning a child, the Court’s paramount consideration is the best interests of the children. Accordingly, each side will provide arguments based on this principle as to whether vaccinating children for covid-19 is in the best interests of the child.
Family Law Cases Regarding Vaccination Of Children
Within the last ten years, there have been cases that have argued for and against vaccination for children. Although it is traditionally quite difficult to argue against children getting vaccinated in Court, it has been achieved.
Although in most cases, vaccination would be considered to be in the best interests of the children. The matter will ultimately be decided on a case-by-case basis.
A Case For Vaccination – Duke-Randal & Randal 
Given the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 and the substantial amount of restrictions placed on those vaccinated, this particular decision provides a strong argument for permitting vaccinating children if the matter were to proceed to Court.
The Case of Duke-Randal & Randal  is a case regarding whether it was in the best interests of the children to be vaccinated or not. In this case, an expert immunologist provided medical evidence to the Court in favour of the particular vaccination. It was held that it would be in the children’s best interests not to be restricted and attend gymnasiums and travel overseas free of the risks associated with being unvaccinated.
Do I Have To Consult The Other Parent If We Are Divorced Or Separated?
Suppose you and your former partner have already been through Court proceedings to determine the parental responsibility or custody of the children. In that case, the answer to this question will depend on the parenting arrangements legally determined in Court.
Suppose it was decided that you and your former parent will have equal shared parental responsibility. In that case, the likely situation is that (subject to the terms of your parenting arrangements) you are both responsible for the major-long term decisions of your children, which encompass medical decisions such as whether your children should be vaccinated or not. In this case, you will both need to agree on the decision. If you cannot reach an agreement despite your best efforts, the matter will need to proceed to Court.
Suppose you are a parent who has sole parental responsibility for your children. In that case, the likely situation is that you are responsible for all significant long-term decisions concerning your children, and your former partner does not have a say in the decision.
Medical decisions such as whether or not your children are to get the covid-19 vaccination are usually covered in the parenting arrangements if this is the case. However, it would be best to refer to the terms of the agreement or check with an experienced family lawyer to ensure this is correct.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing matters such as parents disagreeing on children getting vaccinated, it is essential that you first try and have an amicable conversation with the other parent of your children to try and resolve the matter. If this does not work, you should seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer to discuss your particular circumstances and what the best course of action would be to undertake.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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