Q: I have booked in to get my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination soon. Following the Government’s announcement on Thursday that children over 12 could get it too, I was planning on taking my 14-year-old with me to get hers. However, my ex-husband has told me that he does not want her to get the vaccine. My elderly father lives with us so I want to vaccinate my daughter to protect him. Can I vaccinate my daughter without her father’s consent? Does it help if my daughter wants the vaccine?

On August 19, Cabinet agreed that the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine would be available for 12- to 15-year-olds. Now that the vaccine is available for older children, it is likely to become an issue for guardians.

Vaccination is a guardianship decision

Whether a child is vaccinated against any illness is a guardianship decision and must be made jointly between guardians. You cannot unilaterally decide to vaccinate your daughter when your ex-husband has told you that he does not consent.

Try to resolve the matter informally

The first step in every guardianship dispute should be for you to try to reach an agreement between you and your ex-husband. There is a lot of information available about the safety of the covid-19 vaccination.

Children have also been more susceptible to serious illness with the Delta variant of the virus. This has made it even more important for children to get vaccinated if they can. It is clear from the latest outbreak in Auckland that schools provide opportunity for the virus to spread quickly.

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