Court decides in favour of routine child vaccinations

Faced with a dispute between parents about whether children should be vaccinated, the family court in England and Wales has decided that the children should be given the childhood vaccines specified on the NHS schedule.

This decision reinforces a previous English judgment that supported the use of routine childhood vaccinations.  It also includes a comment that disputes about any vaccination approved for use with children, including vaccines against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, should not need to be decided in court unless the objection is based on credible developments in medical science or peer-reviewed research concerns about that vaccine.

Mr Justice MacDonald states: “I am satisfied that [it is in the] best interests of both P and T [the children] to be vaccinated in accordance with the NHS vaccination schedule.  It is now clearly established on the basis of credible, peer reviewed scientific evidence that it is generally in the best interests of otherwise healthy children to be vaccinated with those vaccines recommended for children by Public Health England and set out in the routine immunisation schedule which is found in the Green Book published in 2013 and updated as necessary since.  It is equally well established that the benefit in vaccinating a child in accordance with Public Health England guidance can be taken to outweigh the long-recognised and identified side effects.”

Although an English decision from a lower court isn’t automatically taken into account in Scotland, it is very likely that these two decisions will provide a very strong argument in favour of child vaccination if anyone tries to obtain a Scottish court order to prevent vaccination of their child.