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In disputes between divorcing parents, it’s getting harder to justify not having a child vaccinated

These disputes present a dangerous situation for the child in a couple of ways.

Vaccinations for children
William McDade, 8, gets inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine while his mom Jennifer reads to him after a press conference about COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged five to 11 at Comer Children’s Hospital in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Nov. 5.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Since the COVID-19 vaccine has been available for children, divorce lawyers have seen a marked increase in fights among divorced and separated parents over whether or not to get their children vaccinated. Most courts seem to be siding with the recommendations of the CDC and the FDA, which approved the vaccine for children 5 and up.

There may be a few exceptions, but it will be increasingly hard to justify in court not having your child vaccinated. In some states, schools are requiring it. In others, restaurants and theaters are as well.

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Vaccine hesitancy may be normal, but we are well past the first stages of people being vaccinated. And despite conspiracy theories thriving on the internet, we have not seen a pattern of people dying from the vaccine. Study after study has shown that the vaccine gives people a better chance of avoiding COVID altogether or, if they do contract it, their case is usually milder than if they were unvaccinated.

Yet, the fights between some parents persist, even though the vaccine is free and widely available.

This is dangerous for the child in a couple of ways. The most obvious is that an unvaccinated child is more likely to become sick and to transmit the virus. Second, more children are now in the middle of ugly disputes between parents and victims of parental alienation. These fights harm children and can rip families apart.

More information and education is needed. We’ve seen mandates and likely will see more as COVID lingers. We all must make an effort to spread the word that the vaccine is safe, not a health risk. We must encourage our friends and neighbors to get their information from trusted sources, not from unvetted internet sources. If you’ve been vaccinated, let others know so that they can see just how many people around them have gotten the shot and are doing just fine.

This is the only way some people may realize that the vaccine is indeed the safe option.

Jeffery M. Leving, founder and president, Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd.

The parent argument

I’m waiting for the people who make similar arguments in other contexts to tell us that the parents of the Michigan shooter know what is best for their child and that the government should not interfere.

Curt Fredrikson, Mokena