A 12-year-old boy in council care can have Covid-19 and flu vaccinations despite his mother’s objections, a judge has ruled.
Council social services bosses responsible for the boy’s care asked Mr Justice Poole to consider the case.
The judge concluded that a local authority could decide to “arrange and consent” to a child in its care being vaccinated against Covid and flu “notwithstanding the objections” of parents.
He has outlined his decision in a written ruling published after a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Grimsby.
Mr Justice Poole indicated that the case was the first of its kind.
He said the boy could not be identified in media reports of the case.
The boy, who is approaching his 13th birthday, wanted to be given Covid and flu vaccines.
His father and council bosses supported him but his mother was opposed.
She said she was against him receiving a Covid vaccine until there was “compelling evidence” that it was safe and effective, and wanted more time to look into the safety of the flu vaccine.
Mr Justice Poole said Court of Appeal judges had ruled that a council with a care order could arrange and consent to a child in its care being vaccinated, if it was satisfied that vaccination was in the best interests of a child, notwithstanding the objections of parents.
But he said “the point” had not been “tested” in relation to Covid or flu vaccines.
“The mother is opposed to (the boy) receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at least until there is what she would regard as compelling evidence that it is safe and effective,” said Mr Justice Poole.
“She contrasts other vaccines that she views as tried and tested with the Covid-19 vaccine which she believes is not.
“As for the flu vaccine, she is opposed to (the boy) receiving it together with the Covid-19 vaccine, which she believes is unsafe, and wishes to have more time to look into the safety of the flu vaccine before taking a position in relation to its safety and efficacy.”
UK Health Security Agency guidance said the UK’s chief medical officers agreed that Covid vaccination would provide young people with “good protection” against severe illness, said the judge.
Vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds should also help reduce the need for young people to have time off school and reduce the risk of the spread of Covid in schools, guidance said.
The agency had also indicated that flu vaccination was important for children
Guidance said vaccination would help protect children and stop them spreading flu.
Mr Justice Poole said he was “quite satisfied” that the law allowed a local authority with a care order to decide to arrange and consent to a child in its care being vaccinated against Covid-19 and flu, despite parental objections.
The judge said he would have concluded that it was in the boy’s best interests to have both vaccinations, had he not decided that council bosses could make the decision on the boy’s behalf.