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Will the Court order my child to get the Covid vaccine?

View profile for Rebecca Laffan
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Will the Court order my child to get the Covid vaccine?

When parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding whether their child should be vaccinated, they will need to seek an order from the Family Court. The Family Court will determine whether the child should receive the vaccine by focusing on what is in the child’s best interest. 

The court's general position regarding vaccinations in England and Wales is that if the scientific evidence shows that having a vaccine is in the best interest of the child then the child should be vaccinated. This is usually regardless of one parent’s opposing belief. This position would likely differ if the parent is able to show evidence to the court that the risk of not being immunised outweighs the benefits of being vaccinated.

The court therefore takes the general view that vaccines, although not compulsory, are generally in the best interest of otherwise healthy children and it is also for the public good that children are vaccinated. As stated previously, this is subject to the scientific evidence and NHS guidance supporting this. 

The position differs, however, when focusing on Covid vaccines. At the time of posting this blog, Covid vaccines are awaiting formal licence approval for children under the age of 16. Accordingly, this means that it is unlikely that the court would order a child to receive a Covid vaccine. This does not mean that the position will remain the same in the future. There is the possibility that with further trials, testing and development that certain vaccines are approved for children under the age of 16 to receive. If this does happen and the medical guidance advises that children should receive a Covid vaccine then the courts position is likely to shadow the approach they take when looking at other vaccines as explained above. 

If you need advice concerning children or other matters relating to divorce and separation, please do contact the Harrowells Family Law Team.

Our articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We are always very happy to discuss any plans, issues or concerns you may have and to clarify how we might be able to help. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.