In 2014 a case went before the Family Court which saw a dispute arise over the vaccination of children. The mother held strong anti-vaccination views and was determined to not have her children vaccinated. The father did not share these views, but whilst married did not disagree “for the sake of peace in the household”.
Upon their divorce the father grew concerned by the fact that his children were not permitted to take part in extra-curricular activities at school.
The father applied for orders from the Family Court that the children be vaccinated. Expert evidence was provided to the Court. The Judge found that “there is no evidence before the Court that these particular children would be adversely affected by being vaccinated”. The Court found that the children’s unvaccinated status was leading to disadvantage. Not only did a lack of vaccination prevent the children from engaging in extracurricular activities, but it also prevented them from travel overseas, contact with extended family members, and risked poor health. It was found that it was in the best interest of the children to be vaccinated, and that the father should be able to vaccinate them.
The Family Court will always make decisions in the best interest of the child. When it comes to vaccinations, the Family Court has favoured the view that the vaccination of children is in their best interest. While the debate over health benefits of vaccinations is undoubtedly settled in favour of their use, disputes over the best interest of a child are complex matters which often involve a range of conflicting interests. Qualified legal advice is essential to achieving an effective outcome.