Children queue for their vaccinations in Malaga last week. File photograph. / ÑITO SALAS

Torremolinos judge rules a teen can be vaccinated against Covid-19 after divorced parents disagree

The mother wanted the 15-year-old to be vaccinated now but the girl’s father preferred to wait because he said there was still not enough information about the side effects of the coronavirus vaccines

JUAN CANO / ÁLVARO FRÍAS

The debate about whether children should be vaccinated against coronavirus will have been heard in most, if not all, homes. But sometimes the question cannot be resolved by the family due to disagreements between the parents and the matter can lead to the courts.

That has just happened in Torremolinos and the judge in the case, given the disagreement between the divorced parents, has finally ruled that the vaccination of the minor can go ahead, the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia (TSJA) has confirmed to SUR.

It all started back in the summer, after the health authorities gave the go-ahead to the vaccination of minors. When it was the turn of the girl’s age group - the teenager is 15 years old - the parents did not agree on whether she should be jabbed against Covid-19. The mother considered that she should be vaccinated, while the father preferred to wait a while.

Joint custody

The mother, represented by the lawyer Lucía Diestro López, from the Guillermo Jiménez legal firm, asked for a voluntary jurisdiction procedure in order to request the judge to authorise the vaccination of her daughter, since there was a disagreement between the parents who have joint custody of the teenage girl.

The matter fell to court number 4 in Torremolinos to decide and the judge summoned both parents to testify on 2 December, in the presence of the public prosecutor .

SUR has learned that the father considered it was too early to vaccinate the teenager because, in his opinion, there was still not enough information about the side effects of the coronavirus vaccines.

Preferred to wait

The man told the court that he is not a denier of the pandemic or Covid-19, but said that he preferred to wait to know the evolution of the serum in children. When the judge asked him how long, he said four or five months, at least.

The mother, on the other hand, argued that her daughter should be vaccinated for her own health, for social responsibility reasons - to help achieve herd immunity - and to counter any possible problems she could have at school or in activities for not having been jabbed. In addition, the court heard that mother has been under treatment for a serious illness and has a weakened immune system, so a coronavirus infection could lead to serious complications in her state of health.

Teenager's opinion

After listening to both parties, and also consulting with the public prosection department, the judge concluded that there was no reason not to vaccinate the minor and stressed that he had taken into account the mother's illness and the teenager's opinion.

The decision became final on the spot since the father said he did not intend to appeal and a vaccination appointment was made for the girl. The teenager has now been vaccinated since 10 December.

In the written court ruling the judge recognised that the father's objections were not "absurd and irrational" since "any vaccine, even the safest, involves the entry of a pathogen in the body and can cause side effects, sometimes severe.”

The judge admitted that, in the case of Covid-19, the fact that the investigations have been developed with "unusual speed" is added, so that "there is not much information about what the evolution of vaccines may be."

The ruling, however, stated that the lack of vaccination "also poses an equal or possibly greater risk", since it leaves the body "defenceless against the virus as there are no other effective treatments that are less invasive."

The judge also said that the minor should be listened to, who was "totally determined to be vaccinated". When asked about how she had reached her decision, the teenager said that she had not been influenced by anyone, but made it by her own criteria and free will.

Risk

In the written ruling the judge highlighted the mother's illness, which increases the danger of contagion "above the average risk". Regarding the specific request of the father, the judge concluded that there is no data to believe that waiting a few months can serve to "clear up current doubts", while, on the contrary, "it would cause the minor to remain defenceless against possible contagion or infect third parties", so "it is appropriate to attribute the power to decide in this case to the mother."