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To Jab or not to Jab – Will Children get the COVID-19 Vaccine and what legal hurdles may appear?

19 February 2021
Shikha Luddu
Read Time 2 mins reading time

After what seems like an endless 2020, COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Australian regulators and will start being rolled out to front line workers and then adults.

As vaccine trials in children under the age of 16 have only just begun it is still unknown whether the vaccine will be recommended for them. It will not be until much later in the year, once health authorities are able to ascertain the vaccine is safe, that we will know.

Nevertheless, the debate of whether children should or should not receive the vaccine is already a hot topic with many anti-vaxxer groups strongly voicing their opposition.

If the Therapeutic Goods Administration rules the vaccine safe for children and it becomes recommended, Family Law practitioners anticipate there will be an influx of cases at the Family Law Courts of separated parents arguing whether or not to vaccinate their children with the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Family Law Courts have powers to make parenting orders with regards to any aspect of care, welfare or development of a child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child. This includes any orders in cases where parents disagree about whether to vaccinate their child or not.

In making any Order the Court must first consider whether the particular vaccination is in the child’s best interests. This includes considering both parties’ sides and bodies of evidence.

Historically the Family Law Courts have favoured children being vaccinated in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule and have made Orders whereby either:
  1. One parent may have sole parental responsibility for all major long-term decisions relating to the child (including vaccinations);
  2. One parent is able to make decisions relating to vaccination in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule; or
  3. One or both parents are Ordered to ensure the child is vaccinated in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Cases where the Family Law Courts have not made Orders for a vaccination involve a significant body of medical evidence to substantiate the negative impacts of the specific vaccination on the child.

If you are in dispute with your former partner about the vaccination status of your child, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

For more information or assistance, please contact Macpherson Kelley’s experienced Private Clients (Family Law) team.

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To Jab or not to Jab – Will Children get the COVID-19 Vaccine and what legal hurdles may appear?

19 February 2021
Shikha Luddu

After what seems like an endless 2020, COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Australian regulators and will start being rolled out to front line workers and then adults.

As vaccine trials in children under the age of 16 have only just begun it is still unknown whether the vaccine will be recommended for them. It will not be until much later in the year, once health authorities are able to ascertain the vaccine is safe, that we will know.

Nevertheless, the debate of whether children should or should not receive the vaccine is already a hot topic with many anti-vaxxer groups strongly voicing their opposition.

If the Therapeutic Goods Administration rules the vaccine safe for children and it becomes recommended, Family Law practitioners anticipate there will be an influx of cases at the Family Law Courts of separated parents arguing whether or not to vaccinate their children with the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Family Law Courts have powers to make parenting orders with regards to any aspect of care, welfare or development of a child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child. This includes any orders in cases where parents disagree about whether to vaccinate their child or not.

In making any Order the Court must first consider whether the particular vaccination is in the child’s best interests. This includes considering both parties’ sides and bodies of evidence.

Historically the Family Law Courts have favoured children being vaccinated in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule and have made Orders whereby either:
  1. One parent may have sole parental responsibility for all major long-term decisions relating to the child (including vaccinations);
  2. One parent is able to make decisions relating to vaccination in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule; or
  3. One or both parents are Ordered to ensure the child is vaccinated in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Cases where the Family Law Courts have not made Orders for a vaccination involve a significant body of medical evidence to substantiate the negative impacts of the specific vaccination on the child.

If you are in dispute with your former partner about the vaccination status of your child, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

For more information or assistance, please contact Macpherson Kelley’s experienced Private Clients (Family Law) team.