COVID-19 vaccines for kids continue to divide some B.C. parents

We’re hearing of more cases of COVID-19 vaccines dividing parents, with the courts siding with those who want their young children to get the shots.

The two latest cases, and another reported earlier this month, involved separated couples with shared custody of their kids.

Victoria, Kelowna moms win vaccine court battles

In Victoria, a BC Provincial Court judge recently ruled in favour of a mother who wanted her seven-year-old daughter to get the jabs, citing her child’s medical issues that put her at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

The father was against it, arguing there were too many unknowns with the vaccine. The judge disagreed, saying the girl’s doctors recommended it and the medical evidence overwhelmingly supports vaccination.

Meanwhile, in Kelowna, a judge also ruled in favour of the mother of an 11-year-old boy who wanted to unilaterally make the decision to vaccinate her son. Once again, the father was against the move.

The Okanagan father tried to present evidence, in the form of internet printouts and articles, to prove the vaccine was unsafe. The judge said the evidence provided had no merit, and that the father’s printouts didn’t meet the standards of actual expert evidence.

Not only did the judge rule in favour of the mother, but they also ruled the father couldn’t have any parenting time with his son or even speak with him about COVID-19 vaccines until after the boy had all his shots.

These cases come after similar circumstances were brought before the court in mid-January.

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A judge on Vancouver Island ruled against a father who refused to allow his daughter to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because he thought the shots were unsafe.

The girl’s mother wanted her 10-year-old to get the jab, citing medical advice from the family’s doctor as well as public health officials.

In this case, the father asked for mediation, which the judge refused, noting that would result in delaying the girl’s vaccinations further.

Several days after the first hearing, the child and the mother tested positive for COVID-19. Without evidence proving the father’s claims that the vaccine is unsafe, the judge ruled that the decision to get the girl vaccinated would ultimately be made by the mother.

Similar cases have popped up across Canada in recent months.

Health Canada approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as five late last year.

-With files from Claire Fenton

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