LEGAL EAGLE: Judge could decide if child receives the MMR vaccine

You have a right to make important decisions, including medical decisions.You have a right to make important decisions, including medical decisions.
You have a right to make important decisions, including medical decisions.
I am the father of a five-year-old, and I am named on his birth certificate. My son lives with his mother. My son has ongoing health conditions, which cause us a lot of worry. His mother has refused to allow him to receive the MMR vaccine. I am worried about the impact of any illness on his health, given his already weakened immune system. What can I do?

As you are named on your son’s birth certificate, you have parental responsibility for him, jointly with his mother. This means that you have a right to make important decisions in his life, including medical decisions.

To ensure that your son is vaccinated, in light of his mother’s opposition, you may want to consider making a Court application to ask the judge to decide whether your son should be vaccinated. Neither parent has more control than the other in making this important decision and the judge decides on a case-by-case basis. The Court will make an Order allowing vaccinations if they believe it is in the best interests of the child after considering all of the evidence.

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If the Court agrees that there is an appropriate vaccine, which is approved and safe for your child, then it is likely they will make an Order allowing him to be vaccinated. The Court will need to make this decision with consideration to his ongoing medical conditions and treatment. If the vaccine would be unsafe in light of this, an Order to allow vaccination may not be made

Please note that it is very rare that an application is made to the Court to consider the vaccination of a child. You would be best to seek legal advice in advance of making any application, and to speak to your child’s GP or specialist to ensure vaccination is in their best interests before embarking on such an application.

If you would like more information, please contact us on 0191 565 3112 or [email protected] for advice on this or any other children issues.

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