Courts Across the Country Remain Pro-Vaccination for Kids
As some of our recent Blogs have shown, there’s been a recent influx of rulings from the Ontario courts on the subject of whether, in the face of opposition by only one of the parents, a child should nonetheless be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Far more often than not, the short answer is: “Yes”.
Collectively these Ontario decisions show that – absent a truly exceptional situation – the province’s Family courts will usually hold that it is in a child’s best interests to be vaccinated against the virus. We covered one of these Ontario cases, A.C. v. L.L., as part of our three-part series on vaccine and other medical decision-making.
Yet the courts in Ontario are certainly not alone in this pro-vax stance. In a recent case from Saskatchewan, the father successfully asked the court for permission to vaccinate his 12-year old daughter, over the objections of the staunchly anti-vaccine mother, from whom he was long-divorced.
In making the application, the father gave evidence that the mother and his own parents had “bombarded” the child with misinformation about getting the vaccine; this turned the girl’s initial enthusiasm about getting the shot into a feeling of trepidation. The father also filed pro-vaccine medical opinions from the child’s pediatrician, together with advice from what the court called an “eminently qualified” physician around COVID-19, who had actually spoken directly with the child to allay her concerns.
In response, the mother filed voluminous materials, including data purporting to show that the Pfizer vaccine itself was unsafe and ineffective for both adults and eligible children who are aged 12 and up.
The court declined to consider a large portion of the mother’s evidence, since it was not in sworn affidavit form as required by the court rules. More to the point, in the court’s view the unsworn materials appeared to be designed to “allow a questioning of the entirety of what is presented through health authorities with respect to COVID-19 to the world.” The court added, “Indeed the mother’s brief contains a reference, stated to be a fact, that the World Health Organization has misled the public with respect to COVID-19 and its effects”.
The court came down hard on the mother’s scattershot attempt to undermine the vaccine, and to call the severity of the pandemic into question. It noted the only task at hand was simply to decide what was in the daughter’s best interests, stating:
What This Application Is Not About
This case is not about whether there is, or has been, a pandemic with respect to the Covid-19 virus. It is also not about whether the numbers with respect to that pandemic are accurate, sufficiently large, or really affect children. It is also not about the safety or the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine. …
This case is also not about governments bullying or forcing citizens to take experimental drugs. It is not about freedom of speech or the lack thereof. And, it is not about the inability of certain individuals to have their points of view heard to their personal satisfaction.
Finally, it is not about either right or left politics. And it is not about society or the Court picking a side in a legitimate ongoing societal debate. In short, it is not about the current health situation and any suggestion it has been politicized. Thus, it is not about the propriety or impropriety of the various levels of government imposing health guidelines, restrictions, masking, or lack of vaccination consequences.
The court then re-focused the parents on the true issue that needed resolution:
What This Application Is About
This application is about only one thing: should this 12-year-old child be ordered to be vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus if she is saying she does not want that to be done and in light of evidence concerning a condition called “vaccine toxicity”? In arriving at the appropriate conclusion on this issue, it will be necessary to make findings of fact based on the evidentiary record that is before the Court. The basis for making these factual determinations is not complicated and will not come as a surprise to those reading these reasons. This despite the fact the petitioner has gone to extreme lengths to attempt to illustrate the entirety of response, and follow up to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been done pursuant to a false narrative and based on false information.
After assessing the particular circumstances of the child, including the details of her medical history and psychological condition, the court readily concluded that it would be in her best interests to be immunized against COVID-19.
The court observed that the opinion proffered by the mother’s medical expert as to the child’s “possible” vaccine toxicity was based merely on the child’s own self-report and demonstrably poor recollections. Also, in light of the mother’s vehement opposition, the child’s recent expressed fear of getting vaccinated was likely not a product of her own independent thought processes.
In the end, the court expressly authorized the father to arrange for the child to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, without having to obtain the mother’s consent. This was to be done in consultation with the child’s own family physician and endocrinologist. The court also awarded the father his legal costs of $2,000, having concluded that the matter was “considerably more involved, urgent, and complicated than what other family law applications are seen to be.”
For the full text of the decisions, see:
A.C. v. L.L., 2021 ONSC 6530
O.M.S. v E.J.S., 2021 SKQB 243