Wednesday February 16 2022
Judgments Concerning COVID-19 Vaccination Continue to Make News
Faced with the reality of the COVID-19 global pandemic, more and more judgments are surfacing where Superior Court judges have made decisions regarding vaccination of children, due to disagreements between parents.
An important judgment1 was recently rendered by the Honourable Justice Lamarche concerning a 13-year-old child. The mother wanted her child to be vaccinated for health reasons, as well as to allow him to continue to take part in extracurricular activities, and for him to be able to access places that require the vaccine passport. The pregnant mother also expressed her concerns with regard to her child being a transmission risk to her and her unborn child. The father questioned the safety of the vaccine and therefore, believed the child should not be vaccinated. Caught in between the two parents, the child wanted to be vaccinated, mostly because it would allow him to pursue and participate in activities requiring the vaccine passport.
Judge Lamarche believed that the decision for the child to be vaccinated or not was an urgent matter and she reiterated that it was in the child’s best interest to get the vaccine, following the public health’s recommendations regarding the vaccination of children older than 12 and also in order for the child to continue to participate in various activities.
Although the Court was not bound by the child’s desire considering his age, it should be noted that, in this case, he wanted to be vaccinated.
A subsequent important judgment2 was issued, this time when the child herself did not wish to receive a second dose of the vaccine. Furthermore, her parents had conflicting opinions about the administration of the vaccine. In this second judgment rendered by Judge Jocelyn Pilote, the child was 13 years old and already had received the first dose of the vaccine but expressed her refusal to receive the second dose. Her mother insisted that her child to get the second dose, whereas the father believed it to be important to respect the child’s refusal of the second dose.
Judge Pilote ruled in favour of the mother, saying the child’s best interest was to get the second dose of the vaccine. Judge Pilote reiterated that the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec recommended that children aged 12 to 17 receive the second dose of the vaccine and that they were in position to know the true impacts of vaccination.
Although the child did not want the second dose and was said to be informed about the vaccine, it appeared that she was influenced by her father’s beliefs against the vaccine and his disbelief about the pandemic. She also expressed that she did not participate in activities that required the vaccine passport and therefore, there was no reason for her to get another dose of the vaccine.
The judge concluded that it would benefit the child not to be restricted from participation in such activities, in order for her to cherish and maintain her existing friendships as well as future ones.
It is therefore possible to conclude that, as of now, the Courts are strongly in accordance with the government’s recommendations regarding the vaccination of children above the age of 12. We can surely expect future judgments to be issued by the courts regarding vaccination and it will be interesting to see if future cases follow along the same lines.
Me Vanessa Anastasia De Minico
In collaboration with Julie Boyer
Alepin Gauthier Avocats Inc.
This text contains legal information of a general nature and should not replace legal advice with a lawyer or notary who will take into account the particularities of your situation.
1Droit de la famille — 212035, 2021 QCCS 4484
2Droit de la famille — 212222, 2021 QCCS 4862