Application concerning the best interests of a 17 year-old with autism, severe learning disability and asthma and whether he should be vaccinated against covid-19.
IOSK has been in various residential placements, against the wishes of his parents (the father was at the time of the hearing awaiting trial for breaches of non-molestation orders arising from one of the placements). Although separated, both parents opposed the application for IOSK to get vaccinated, partly because they believed that IOSK’s problems stemmed from the MMR vaccine. The father also stated that he would have no objection to vaccination if IOSK could live with him.
HHJ Hilder decides that these factors cannot be taken into consideration. While acknowledging that the belief in the dangers of the MMR vaccine could cause anxiety, those views had been debunked and the Court of Appeal has said “there simply is no basis on which it can be considered properly based”. She also states that the vaccination issue is discrete and “should not be seen by anyone as a bargaining chip in other disputes.” Given that there was no medical evidence put forward that IOSK would be especially at risk, she finds that the benefits outweigh the risk and sets out a plan for how the vaccination should be carried out.
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