What happens if one parent wants the children to be vaccinated but the other does not?

Who gets to make the final decision?

This week I received a letter from the NHS national COVID-19 vaccination scheme inviting my 6-year-old for his COVID vaccination.

I knew the letter would be on its way but I hadn’t really had time to properly explore what I thought about my children being vaccinated against COVID.

As a family, we have been incredibly lucky and most of us have avoided catching COVID during the pandemic, however we are still very careful about where we go, who we see and of course like the majority want to avoid it if we can.

Mixed Response To Children's COVID Vaccinations

Speaking to other parents there seems to be a mixed response to children being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some parents have said they won’t be getting their children vaccinated as they have had COVID and the symptoms in their children weren’t that bad, so they didn’t see the need for them to be vaccinated.

Others, I spoke to were of the view that as their children had received all other childhood vaccinations/immunisations they couldn’t see why they wouldn’t vaccinate their child against COVID.

I can see merit in all these differing views but still I found the decision quite tricky to make with my husband.

Most families will come to their decision one way or another.  Some will research as much as possible the issues surrounding the vaccination, like the potential side effects and what the risks are if they decide not to vaccinate their children.

But receiving the letter for my son’s vaccination really got me thinking about what happens to families where the children’s parents hold differing views on the vaccination.

Maybe one parent feels strongly that the children should receive the vaccination and the other parent disagrees and does not consent to vaccination.  This I am sure is a very difficult position for any parent to find themselves in.

Parental Responsibility

Whilst both parents may have parental responsibility, one parent's responsibility to parent the children does not override the other parent’s parental responsibility, unless there is a court order in place.

This means that parents do need to reach an agreement. If they can’t agree then the court will need to decide for them and make a decision on the specific issue of whether the child/ren of the family should or should not be vaccinated.

If you are finding it difficult to reach a decision on vaccination within your family and would like to discuss your legal options in resolving the important decision of whether to consent to the vaccination of your child/ren then please do get in touch with our expert team of family lawyers who will be happy to assist you.

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