Mandurah mother asks for legal advice after father threatens to vaccinate child

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE mother of an unvaccinated child from Mandurah is looking for a lawyer after the father of her child threatened to take her to court to have the child vaccinated.

The mother recently took to a popular anti-vaccination Facebook group to ask for recommendations for a lawyer.

HHG Legal solicitor Amy James said the only way the mother could legally block the father from immunising the child was by obtaining an order from the Family Court of WA.

“The Family Court has wide powers to make orders in relation to children and this includes whether or not a child should be immunised,” she said.

“As with any other order in relation to a child, the decision must be determined in accordance with the best interests of the child.”

Ms James said an agreement made about immunisations during a relationship would be relevant to Family Court proceedings. “However, this is but one factor the court may take into account,” she said.

Ms James said immunisation had been a hot topic for some time and the Government was now taking action. “From January 1, 2016, families with children aged under 20 years need to have their children immunised to be eligible to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement and childcare subsidies, unless the child has a medical exemption,” she said.

“Vaccine objection is no longer an exemption category.

“To meet the immunisation requirements, children who turn one in the relevant income year, and in each income year after that, will need to be vaccinated as per the applicable early childhood schedule, or be on a recognised immunisation catch- up schedule, or have an approved exemption.”

As the vaccination debate continues, some parents are looking for ways to avoid immunising their children.

Doctors maintain their position that the benefit of vaccination outweighs any real or perceived risk.

Rates of vaccine-preventable diseases are on a downward trend in the South Metropolitan area.

There have been 28 cases of whooping cough compared with 38 cases recorded at the same time last year.

More than 120 cases of influenza were recorded in 2015; this year 69 cases have been recorded.

Chicken pox has risen slightly from 10 cases in 2015, to 11 cases this year. Mandurah’s 2014-15 vaccination rates, released earlier this year by the National Health Performance Authority, show that most age groups are reaching more than 90 per cent coverage.

The report recorded a 91.1 per cent vaccination rate for one-year-olds and the same rate for five-year-olds.

Only 86.6 per cent of two-year-olds had received all their vaccinations.

The report revealed 261 children from Mandurah were not vaccinated.

Click here for the full immunisation data.