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Vaccinations for Children – what does that mean for parents?

September 15, 2021

In light of the government’s announcement on 14 September 2021 that the COVID vaccine will be rolled out to school children aged 12-15, we take a look at what happens if one parent/guardian is refusing to vaccinate a child.

Today the government has confirmed that all children across the UK (excluding Scotland) will be given the opportunity to have one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. It is hoped that by doing so, it will decrease the amount of time that children will have to spend isolating and away from learning if they come into contact with another child who has tested positive.

Since the start of the outbreak, children have been recognised as being the least at risk from the virus, however there have still been occasions where there have been children who have tested positive in schools, causing a lot of disruption.

Concerns have been raised that parents (or indeed children) may not agree with the vaccine rollout, and clinicians are urging parents or children who disagree with the vaccine to speak to health professionals about this. Almost in anticipation, the Vaccine Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has said that if a there is a difference in opinion between a parent and a child, if the child is deemed to be competent, they can give their own consent to the vaccine if necessary.

What if you agree but the other parent doesn’t?

The court has previously, in  M v H and P and T [2020] EWFC 93 (concerning the MMR vaccine), granted a Specific Issue Order for two children to be vaccinated, despite an objection by one parent. In this case, the Court found that it was in the best interests of the children to be vaccinated, and so the granting of a Specific Issue Order enabled the other parent to take the children to be vaccinated.

We anticipate that this ruling will be followed if there are disagreements between parents in relation to a child being vaccinated against COVID-19, however all cases will be reviewed on an individual basis, depending on the circumstances.

How AFG Law can help

If you are a parent or guardian of a child, and the other parent/guardian is refusing to consent to a vaccine, it may be possible to seek an Order much like above to enable the children to receive protection from the virus. Contact our team of specialists today:

Via telephone: 01204 920 101

Via email: familydepartment@afglaw.co.uk