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Does my child have to be vaccinated (COVID-19)?

On 18 January 2022, we wrote an article (What if we disagree on whether our child should be vaccinated?). Since then, there have been several family law judgments dealing with issues in relation to COVID-19 vaccination for children. Pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has the power to make parenting orders in relation to a child being vaccinated, despite any views of either parent.

In Fontain & Pretre [2022] FedCFamC1F 198, the father sought a Court order to stop the mother from taking her child for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Court found it to be in the best interests of the children in that case to be vaccinated and noted that the child would be at risk of contracting COVID-19, and therefore harm, if they were to remain unvaccinated, which the Court said would constitute neglect.

In Rusena & Rusena [2022] FedCFamC2F 472, the mother sought a Court order to stop the father from having the children to be vaccinated. The mother was unsuccessful, and it was ordered that the father is to have sole parental responsibility for the issue of children receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. The Court was satisfied that the father in that case was the most appropriate parent to decide whether the children should receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Similarly, in Cranston & Persson (No 2) [2022] FedCFamC1F 187, the father sought a Court order to prevent either parent from having the children vaccinated. The father was unsuccessful, and an order was made for the mother to have sole parental responsibility for the issue of children receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. This means the mother was permitted to decide whether the children should be vaccinated because, as noted by the Court, the Court was satisfied the mother was better equipped to make a decision that is in the best interests of children in that case.

In Karcher & Lacoss [2022] FedCFamC2F 281, there was a dispute over the vaccination of an 11-year-old child. The Court ordered that the father is to have sole parental responsibility for the issue of the child receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. The Court determined that the father should make the decision rather than the mother, as the child lived with the father, and the father took the time and trouble consulting with a GP, who the Judge regarded as having greater expertise that themself or any lawyers in the matter on the topic of vaccinations.

In Lamos & Radin (No 2) [2022] FedCFamC2F 167, there was an Independent Children’s lawyer for the child in the matter who advised the Court that the child wanted to be vaccinated. The Court considered that the views of the child who was 16 years of age are relevant, and the Court ordered that the father was authorised to arrange for the child to be vaccinated without the consent of the mother, so long as the child consented.

Should you have concerns about your child being vaccinated, we consider that you should contact Doolan Callaghan Family Lawyers on 02 9984 7411 as soon as possible and arrange for an Initial Consultation so that we may provide you with the relevant advice on the best way for you to overcome the issue.

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