Do I need consent from the other parent for our children to receive the Covid-19 Vaccination?
If you are in dispute with the other parent about whether to vaccinate your child, whether it be a vaccination for Covid-19 or any other vaccination, you should consult with the other parent and attempt to reach an agreement on the issue.
This is because under the Family Law Act 1975, each parent is presumed to have equal shared parental responsibility in relation to the making of long term/significant issues affecting your children, including but not limited to issues such as:
- Medical treatment;
- Change of name;
If you and the other parent are unable to reach an agreement in relation to the vaccination of your children, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has the power to make decisions about your child’s health, and they will do so having regard to the paramount consideration, what is in the best interests of the child.
The National Covid-19 List
A National Covid-19 List has been created to deal with issues that have arisen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. If an application is made for inclusion in the Covid-19 List, your application will be listed generally within 36 hours of the date of filing it. The first Court date is before a Registrar however and therefore the court can only make orders on that day by agreement unless the matter is set down before Judge. For more information on the Covid-19 List, check out our useful article: The Covid-19 List.
Ultimately, if a Judge is required to determine the issue at a Hearing, arguments may be made to the Court as to the detrimental impacts of the vaccination, however in our experience, unless there is some expert medical evidence supporting that there would be an adverse effect on the particular child/ren of having the vaccination, given the State and Federal Government policy in support of vaccinations, the Courts have been minded to made orders in support of the vaccination occurring.
Just recently, in the case of Makinen & Taube  FCCA 1878, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia ordered that the Father have sole parental responsibility in relation to the issue of vaccinations and for that purpose, it was intended that the child’s vaccinations occur in accordance with the National Immunisation Program, or as recommended by the children’s treating medical practitioner.
If you have a dispute with your former partner about whether your children should receive the Covid-19 vaccination, you should ensure that you have expert medical evidence supporting how the vaccination would have an adverse impact on your children.
Otherwise, absent any evidence of risk to the particular child, the Courts are likely determine that it is in a child’s best interests to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and in accordance with the National Immunisation Program.
For more information on the criteria for inclusion on the Covid-19 List, check out our article: I want to apply to the Family Court for inclusion in the Covid-19 List.
I want to file an application for inclusion in the Covid-19 List to deal with a Covid-19 vaccination issue
For more information and advice as to whether you meet the criteria for an application for inclusion in the Covid-19 List, contact our office and book a reduced rate initial consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers, for advice in relation to your specific circumstances.