Friday, June 14, 2024

Judge says Victoria mom can vaccinate daughter against COVID-19 though dad’s opposed


Colwood court is ruling in favour of a mom’s plea to vaccinate her daughter against COVID-19, even though dad objects.

Last Monday, a provincial court hearing at Western Communities Courthouse saw mom (R.S.L.) and dad (A.C.L.) share opposing opinions about what’s best for their 10-year-old.

A week later, a court ruling from Judge Ted Gouge finds mom is acting on the advice of her family doctor, as dad stresses the vaccine is unsafe. 

“The matter first came before me on January 17th, 2022. At that time, A.C.L. asked me to refer the parties to mediation on the issue,” wrote Gouge.

“I declined that request because I thought that [the daughter] should not be left unprotected during the period necessary to schedule and conduct a mediation.”

Gouge said he told R.S.L. to schedule a conference with A.C.L. and her family doctor, “and if the parties were unable to agree after that conference call, I would decide the matter.” 

But the doctor was unavailable at the time, so R.S.L. set up a conference call with A.C.L. and a public health nurse who also recommended vaccination.

However, dad left “unpersuaded.”

According to the January 24th ruling, both R.S.L. and her daughter tested positive for COVID-19 last week – the latter of which is asymptomatic.

Upon his decision, Judge Gouge pointed to the latest guidance from the BC Ministry of Health, which finds COVID-19 vaccines in Canada for children are free, safe and effective.

“When you get your child vaccinated, you protect them from severe illness from COVID-19 and reduce the spread of infection in your community,” states a post on the government’s website, highlighted in the ruling.

In short, Gouge said mom’s decision is based on “the advice of her family doctor and the publicly-stated position of the Ministry of Health.”

On the other hand, dad’s argument reflects statements by people “whose qualifications are unknown,” according to Gouge.

“Unfortunately, the issue would likely be rendered moot if I were to defer its adjudication to allow time for a trial with expert witnesses,” he said.

“If [the daughter] needs to be vaccinated, she needs to be vaccinated now,” Gouge added in the ruling. That said, he’s allowing the mom to decide whether, how and when her daughter will be vaccinated.

Read more

Latest Stories