Divorced Parents – who decides on children’s vaccination?
Vaccination against COVID in Spain is well advanced, and to make going back to school safer, the group of 12/16-year-old children have been vaccinated since August.
With the advance of the vaccination programme, and children already in school, there are conflicts between divorced parents who disagree regarding their children being vaccinated. The first court decision has been issued in Barcelona, in order to resolve a conflict between a mother who was in favour of the vaccine and a father who disagreed with the administration the vaccine to their children who were aged 15 and 16 years old.
The father alleged “uncertainty” regarding the efficacy of the vaccine and its possible adverse effects.
After hearing the arguments of both parties, the judge has considered that the most “beneficial” for the interests of the minors is that the mother is the one who makes the decision. In other words, the ruling does not explicitly oblige minors to be vaccinated, but it does grant the mother the power to do what she considers best for her children. In this case in favour of vaccination.
In the case of the eldest son (16), it will be he, himself, who decides what to do, since the Law gives him the power to decide for himself on this matter.
In Spain – as in other neighbouring countries – adolescents aged 16 or over have the legal capacity to accept or reject vaccination by themselves, without their parents deciding for them. Something that also applies in the case of vaccine against COVID, as we have just seen in this Barcelona ruling.
Therefore, the legal problem currently lies in those children between 12 and 15 years old whose parents have contrary opinions regarding their immunization against COVID.
If there is no agreement between the parents, it will be necessary to go to court, a process that could take several months and which will presumably end up giving the parent the decision in favour of vaccinating, unless there is a medical contraindication that justifies non-vaccination.
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