B.C. court rules mother can decide if child gets COVID vaccine, despite dad’s objections

File photo. The Canadian Press

A B.C. provincial court judge has ruled that a 10-year-old girl can be vaccinated against COVID-19 despite her father’s objections.

In a ruling posted online, the mother, known only as R.S.L to protect the child’s identity, wanted her daughter to be vaccinated on the advice of her family doctor.

However, the girl’s father, known as A.C.L., objected on the grounds that he said it is unsafe.

The parents share custody of the child.

Justice Ted Gouge wrote that the matter first came before him on Jan. 17 and the father wanted to attend mediation.

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Gouge said he declined the request as he thought the daughter “should not be left unprotected during the period necessary to schedule and conduct a mediation.”

He instead suggested that the mother and father schedule a call with the family doctor and hopefully resolve it that way.

The doctor was not available, but the parents had a call with a public health nurse, who also recommended the child be vaccinated.

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However, Gouge said the dad remained “unpersuaded” and asked the judge to order his daughter not to get the shot.

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In the interim, both the mother and daughter tested positive for the virus.

Gouge said he made his decision guided by Justice Charney of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in another case that states:

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“The responsible government authorities have all concluded that the COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective for children ages 12-17 to prevent severe illness from COVID-19 and have encouraged eligible children to get vaccinated. These government and public health authorities are in a better position than the courts to consider the health benefits and risks to children of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Absent compelling evidence to the contrary, it is in the best interest of an eligible child to be vaccinated.”

The B.C. Ministry of Health also encourages eligible children to get the vaccine to protect themselves and others.

Gouge said the girl’s father did produce his own “summary of publications which are critical of COVID vaccination, and argues that the unknown risks of vaccination outweigh any possible benefits.”

To sum up, the judge said the mother wanted to make a parenting decision “founded upon the advice of her family doctor and the publicly-stated position of the Ministry of Health.” Meanwhile, the father “opposes the decision upon the basis of statements by people whose qualifications are unknown. Unfortunately, the issue would likely be rendered moot if I were to defer its adjudication to allow time for a trial with expert witnesses.”

Gouge ordered that the mother make the decision about whether, how and when the daughter is to be vaccinated.

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