Sue Hodgson, of Lanyon Bowdler’s family law team, says questions are already being raised about vaccinations and it will be important for parents to agree on whether or not to vaccinate their child when the time comes.
UK vaccinations have been hugely successful with millions of people having already responded to the invitation to have their jab and the age ceiling of those next in line for a call is coming down all of the time.
There are currently no plans to vaccinate children against Covid-19 because they are at lower risk than adults, but tests are being carried out to assess whether a vaccination for children would help reduce the risk of transmission.
Sue said it was important for parents to talk through their wishes ahead of any decision to add children to the programme.
“With the advent of the new vaccinations being rolled out to the general public, parents will undoubtedly be concerned as to whether children will be vaccinated,” she said.
“Our team at Lanyon Bowdler anticipates there will be a lot of parents who will need to seek advice and assistance in relation to this issue.
“A child should not be vaccinated unless every person who holds parental responsibility for them has given consent.
"Therefore, if there is a dispute regarding vaccination, parents who want their child vaccinated against the wish of other holders of parental responsibility need to consider taking legal advice.
“In such cases, a parent’s views will be taken into account by the court but will not be determinative unless the view has a real bearing on the child’s welfare – the focus, as always in the Children Act, will be on the child’s best interests.
“The advice to parents who want to vaccinate or not vaccinate against the consent of the other holder of parental responsibility must be to seek legal advice on the best way to proceed.
“It is difficult, however, to foresee a situation where a vaccination against Covid-19 that is approved for use with children would not be endorsed, unless there is a credible development in medical science.
“Parents would be well advised to obtain all medical evidence about their child before thinking about legal proceedings.”
For more advice, contact Sue Hodgson or the family law team on 0800 652 3371 or visit lblaw.co.uk