Girl must be given measles vaccine before trip to Europe, judge rules
Published Friday, April 10, 2015 3:55PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 10, 2015 6:20PM EDT
A 10-year-old Kitchener girl must receive the measles vaccine before travelling to Germany, a judge has ruled.
The child’s parents are separated and have joint custody of their daughter.
They were in court last month, in advance of a planned late-April trip to Europe for the girl and her mother.
The mother accused the father of blocking the trip with court action, while the father argued that the girl should be vaccinated for her own protection.
Concern had been expressed by the mother about the safety of measles vaccines in Canada.
Personal details about the family have been withheld because of a publication ban issued to protect the girl’s identity.
As part of their separation agreement, the parents had agreed not to vaccinate the girl before she turned 12 – at which point she would be allowed to make her own decision.
In a 38-page ruling filed Friday, Justice R.J. Harper said the responsibility of the court extended beyond upholding the separation agreement.
“I am of the view that I must consider the best interests of the child,” he wrote.
“The parents’ absolute prohibition on vaccinations for the child prior to age 12, in my view, is not in the best interests of the child.”
Harper also took issue with the parents involving the girl in what he termed their “high conflict.”
“No 10-year-old child should be put in a position such as the child in this case,” he wrote.
Ultimately, Harper found himself unswayed by the mother’s arguments that vaccinations are harmful, and ruled that the father have be given the ability to decide whether the girl receives vaccinations.
“Prior to the child being taken on the trip to Germany, she shall receive a vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella or whatever vaccination combination for these diseases is recommended by the child’s family doctor,” he wrote.
According to statistics from Public Health Ontario, there were 49 cases of side effects – most of them mild – from the 330,000 shots for measles, mumps and rubella given out in the province last year.