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Coronavirus: Father loses case to vaccinate children against mother’s wishes

Paphos court

In the first case of its kind, Paphos district court has rejected a father’s request to allow his children to be vaccinated despite their mother’s objections.

This is the first time a disagreement between parents over vaccinating their children reached the courts.

Back in July, the health ministry expanded the age window to allow minors between 12 and 17 to get the anti-coronavirus vaccine but specified that for this to happen, children would need to get consent from both parents.

The court heard that the applicant, a father of two children over 12, was in favour of allowing them to get vaccinated, while their mother, his ex-wife, was against. In early August he asked for court orders allowing the girls to get vaccinated without their mother’s consent and travel abroad with him.

The father claimed that despite their mother’s objections, the two children wanted to get vaccinated and argued that it would be in their best interests, especially since the health ministry approved vaccines for their age group following the approval of the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency.

As for the request to allow the girls to travel, he said it was so they could visit their ailing grandmother as it was their wish to maintain their bonds with their father’s family, who live abroad.

For her part, the mother offered the court a completely opposite view, saying that travelling abroad is not in the children’s interest in a period where high rates of infection are still recorded.

This would expose them to the risk of infection and could lead them having to isolate or even miss the first days of school, she said.

Having consulted the girls’ doctor, she also presented the view that allowing them to get vaccinated wouldn’t necessarily be in their favour.

The court rejected the father’s application, saying it received no testimony that could prove with certainty that vaccinating the minors would be in their best interest and that it “cannot appoint itself as a medical expert”.

It added that the applicant would have a better case if he had provided a medical opinion on the matter, so that the court would have a comprehensive view of both the pros and cons of allowing the minors to get vaccinated, as was done with lawsuits filed against coronavirus measures and the SafePass.

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