Newcastle’s Children’s Law Specialist, Joanne Major states A High Court judge has ordered two girls, aged 15 and 11, to have the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination against both their wishes and those of their mother. The parents, who are divorced, disagreed over the decision and the father brought an application for a Specific Issue Order. The mother’s objections were based on her concern about the side effects of vaccination, particularly the risk of autism, and the fact the children themselves opposed the vaccinations. The girls’ father was concerned about the serious consequences of contracting measles, mumps and rubella, particularly following the recent outbreak of measles in Wales.
Mrs Justice Theis decided it was in the girls’ best interests that they each receive the vaccination. She stated that weight should be attached to the wishes of mature children, but the Court also has to consider their level of understanding of the issues involved.
It is the second time a court has ruled on a parental dispute over the MMR, and the first involving children of this age.