Judge rules that 13-year-old boy from Quebec can get vaccinated against coronavirus despite opposition from father

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MONTREAL – A Quebec judge has ruled that a 13-year-old boy in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil does not need to listen to his father – at least when it comes to vaccinations.

The child, who could not be identified due to his age, wanted his two doses of covid-19 vaccination to do what most children like to do during the pandemic – play leisure sports at school, go to the cinema and eat in a restaurant.

A vaccine pass proving that someone is adequately protected against covid-19 has been required for these and many other activities in Quebec since September 1st.

But his father was opposed to his son receiving the shot, so the mother, who supported the teenager’s decision to be vaccinated, took the matter to court to resolve the conflict between the parents.

According to the court decision released last month, the father, who did not deny that he had downplayed the seriousness of covid-19, was opposed to his son receiving the injections “because he fears the risk of vaccination” which he considers “experimental”. ”

The father also believed that the vaccines approved by Health Canada could modify someone’s DNA (they do not) and that his son can not transmit the virus to his pregnant wife.

The court also saw evidence from his father’s Facebook page that showed him protesting in front of schools against the requirement to wear masks indoors and that he vandalized signs promoting public health measures.

In a post, he congratulated another 13-year-old girl who claimed that she stopped going to school because of the masking mandate.

The father claimed that his online behavior was not linked to his decision to ban his son from being vaccinated, but the court did not buy it.

Supreme Court Justice Chantal Lamarche wrote in his ruling that the father, who represented himself in court, failed to point to any evidence of his son’s health that shows the vaccine is more dangerous to him.

“The court considers that the parent who wants to follow the authorities’ recommendations in health matters, and in particular vaccination issues, must have priority unless it is of course a special circumstance that concerns the child,” the judge said. wrote.

“The gentleman’s fears do not match the recommendations of public health in Quebec.”

She decided that the mother could vaccinate her son without the father’s permission.

“YOU MUST COME TO THE COURT WITH EVIDENCE”

The judge’s decision comes when Health Canada reviews a permit from Pfizer for the vaccine to be given to children between the ages of five and 11. The US Food and Drug Administration has already approved the vaccine manufacturer’s shots of children in the same age range to the south. of the border.

The Canadian Federal Health Agency is currently studying the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children and said it will take a few weeks before the vaccine is approved, with an estimated timeline at the end of November that looks more likely.

Sylvie Schirm, a family lawyer in the Montreal area, said there may be more cases like this when more children have been approved for the covid-19 vaccine.

Schirm, who was not involved in the Longueuil court case, said she was not surprised by the judge’s decision against the 13-year-old’s father.

“The problem here is that you have to go to court with evidence,” she said in an interview with CTV News.

“You have to have a doctor or a qualified scientist come to court to say the covid vaccine is not good. I do not know who you will get in Quebec to come and do it, but that’s what you need as evidence. “So if you do not have proof that you will run out, the child will receive the vaccine.”

If the child had been a year older, he himself would have been able to decide to vaccinate on his own. But legally, young people between the ages of 12 and 13 in Quebec need a parent’s permit to get the vaccine.

While Schirm suspects that there is a possibility that there may be more parents’ disputes about vaccinating children to go to court, there are already enough precedents from previous court decisions to side with the parent who supports immunization.

“I have a feeling it will be difficult to advise a client to come and fight it without medical evidence,” she said.

“[If a parent says] “Well, I’m worried, I’m worried about this” – there is no evidence. Do you have medical evidence? Do you have scientific evidence? What have you? Who can you go to court to explain to a judge why it is not optimal to have your child vaccinated against covid-19? ”

CTV’s attempt to reach the boy’s mother and her lawyer failed on Wednesday.

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