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  • Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq.

COVID Vaccine for Kids 5-11: What To Do If You And Your Ex Disagree.

As if single-parent households with joint legal custody during a pandemic is not complicated enough, a lot of parents have a new worry to add to their plates: a widely controversial COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they had submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration that the companies said showed their coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, and they would submit a formal request to regulators to allow a pediatric dose of their vaccine to be administered in the United States in the coming weeks.

The decision of whether or not to give the vaccine to their young children can be difficult in intact families, but it becomes even more challenging in single-parent households with joint legal custody.

If parents share joint legal custody of their child and they do not agree on whether to have the child immunized, neither parent should act unilaterally.

So what options do you have if you cannot agree?

Resolve between yourselves

As with everything, the best approach, if possible, is for parents to agree directly with each other on any arrangements and specific issues as they are the right people to make decisions concerning their children. 

Family counseling or mediation

The introduction of a neutral third party can help. Some separated parents can benefit from family counseling and other alternative dispute resolutions services, including mediation and collaborative law. These routes can reduce the time and cost for everyone, avoid protracted court proceedings, benefit future relationships, have a far higher success rate, and put the child’s best interests first.

Going to court

Considering the current backlog at the family courts, exacerbated by the pandemic, where possible, it is always preferable for parents to resolve matters outside of the courts. If all else fails, then the decision will have to be passed to the family courts. If divorced or unmarried parents cannot reach agreements in these scenarios, the family court which has jurisdiction over that child must make the decision.

Bottom Line

Until a vaccine is approved for this age group, different guidelines are being put into place to protect the most vulnerable from getting COVID-19. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all students 2 years of age and older wear a mask in the classroom regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not. The best way to make sure you are not caught off guard is to prepare. That said parents should contact a family law attorney to determine what steps to take and how to best prepare themselves for this important decision.

If you would like any legal advice as you cannot agree on this or any other issues with your ex-partner and are looking for "A Kinder Approach To Life’s Legal Matters”, feel free to contact me at


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