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(Family Division, Theis J, 5 September 2013)
Following the parents' separation the two children, aged 15 and 11, resided with their mother and had contact with their father on alternate weekends and during school holidays. Following the birth of the first child she received her MMR vaccination but due to the controversy surrounding the safety of the vaccination at the time, she did not receive her booster and the younger child was not inoculated at all.
The father claimed that he was increasingly concerned of the effects of the children not being immunised particularly now that the paper which started the controversy over the vaccine had since been discredited. He now sought a declaration and a specific issue order for the children to receive the MMR vaccine which the mother opposed.
The children met a Cafcass officer and expressed their concerns about the ingredients of the MMR vaccine especially the older child who was vegan.
In taking into account the children's wishes and feelings and that their welfare was the court's paramount consideration orders were made for them to receive the MMR vaccination. Their views had inevitably been influenced by a number of factors which altered the weight to be attached to them. The medical evidence pointed in one way, in favour of having the vaccine despite the accepted side effects. The diseases being prevented were serious with long-term health consequences.
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