The High Court has ordered that two girls aged 15 and 11 must receive the MMR vaccination following a dispute between their parents.
The parents are now divorced but when together had decided not to vaccinate their children in the wake of concerns raised about the safety of the vaccine and links with Autism.
These concerns are now largely discredited and there have been outbreaks of measles in several areas of the country. As a result of this the father changed his mind and wanted the girls to receive the vaccine. The mother disagreed and stated that neither she nor the children themselves were agreeable for the vaccine to be given.
The matter was investigated by CAFCASS who found that the children did not know the full details of what might happen to them if they did become ill as a result of not having the vaccine and the CAFCASS officer appointed found that they had been very heavily influenced by their mother.
The Judge accordingly ordered that the girls should be vaccinated.
This highlights a very difficult issue that can arise for separated parents when each holds a different view about such an important topic. Assuming both parents have parental responsibility for their child then they both have an equal right to be consulted about such issues, irrespective of the existence of a residence order.
If matters cannot be agreed either between the parents with the help of solicitors or via mediation then the matter may need to be put before the court and the court will need to make a specific issue order. When considering what order to make the Judge will give priority to the welfare of the children.
if you are concerned about this or any other issue of joint parenting and would like some initial advice please contact us and we will arrange for you to have an initial chat with one of our Family Solicitors based in Stockport.