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What happens when parents disagree over the vaccination of their child?

Posted on: 04/05/2022

We’ve had a few parents contact us who’ve had disagreements regarding their child’s vaccination.

Often, one parent would like their child vaccinated; but the other wouldn’t.

In this article, Family Partner Simon Immins looks at how parents can solve these disputes.

Can parents refuse to have their child vaccinated against COVID-19?

If both parents agree that their child shouldn’t have a jab then; unless the children themselves are mature enough for their GP to consider that they can make their own decisions, the children won’t get the vaccine.

What if my partner and I don’t agree on whether our child should be vaccinated?

It is important to determine who has parental responsibility for any child when dealing with issues of health.

If you were married at the time of your child’s birth, then you will both have parental responsibility.

If you were unmarried at this time, then it will depend on certain factors.

Find out more about parental responsibility here.

What can be done to solve the disagreement?

If parents cannot agree between themselves then the next best approach is to consider attending mediation to see if a mediator can help parents to come to an agreement.

Mediation is where an independent third party helps to resolve conflict or disagreement between disputing parties.

What if mediation doesn’t work?

If discussions or mediation are unsuccessful, then the Family Courts can be asked to make a decision on behalf of the child.

The process is started when one parent applies under the Children Act 1989 for an order under Section 8 of that Act.

There are two potential Orders that are relevant to this Issue:

  • Specific Issue Order
  • Prohibited Steps Order

In the ful article, Simon looks at how thse orders can be used and discusses what the Court will take into account in more detail. Read it here.

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