What to Do if You Disagree With Your Co-Parent about Vaccinating Your Children
On November 2, 2021, the CDC announced its recommendation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11. The announcement came just days after the FDA authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children, finding that the vaccine was 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 for those ages 5 through 11.
We find that many co-parents disagree on whether their children should be vaccinated. We understand that parents are concerned for the well-being of their children, and acknowledge that both sides of the argument have reasons for their position. However, conflict over whether to vaccinate your children may escalate and require the help of an unbiased third party, like a Parent Coordinator.
If you and your co-parent do not agree on vaccinating your children, we recommend the following courses of action before resorting to litigation.
Start with the Facts
When making medical decisions on behalf of your children, you want to make the most well-informed and safest decisions possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosts a wealth of resources for parents of children of all ages. The CDC recently added a resource webpage specific to COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens, where parents can access information regarding vaccine dosage, administration, preparedness, and side effects, among many other topics. Parents may also want to consult with the pediatrician for input. If your child is enrolled in a private school, you may want to find out if the school is considering a vaccine mandate.
Know the Concerns
Prior to the FDA’s authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children, a series of polls revealed that many parents remain unsure as to whether the vaccine is safe for their kids. A national poll from the University of Michigan Health found that, among those polled, 51% of parents of children ages 3 through 11 said it was unlikely their child would receive the vaccine upon approval. Additionally, a national poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation concluded that four in ten parents of children under the age of 12 would rather “wait and see” before getting their child vaccinated.
Parents may have many reasons for taking a position for or against the COVID-19 vaccine for young children. It is important that both parents feel heard, and that all concerns are acknowledged. This discussion should be done at an appropriate time and place, and not in front of your children.
Your children may also be concerned about the vaccine. Children are now seeing what their peers are doing and may be talking to other children about the issue. While you and your co-parent are trying to resolve the issue, your child may be formulating his or her own opinion on it. Once you and your co-parent have decided what to do, you should agree on the best way to discuss the issue with your children so that they feel heard.
Consult with a Parent Coordinator
Medical decisions can be complicated, especially when deciding for your children. If you and your co-parent disagree on vaccinating your children and are looking for outside help, we encourage you to consider Parent Coordination.
Parent Coordination helps parents resolve important issues in a prompt and cost-efficient manner. A Parent Coordinator is a trained, impartial third party who works with parents to reach a fair compromise on issues relating to their children. Parent Coordination may resolve the issue long before a Court could ever address it.
To be certified, Parent Coordinators complete 100 hours of training, as outlined in the Maryland Rules. Areas covered in the training include mediation skills, working with high-conflict families, developmental stages of children, conflict resolution, and parenting skills. Parent Coordinators also participate in annual continuing education.
A Parent Coordinator can meet with you and your co-parent to help come to a shared decision regarding vaccinating your children. You will have the opportunity to voice and address your concerns, as will your co-parent. The ultimate goal is to reach a decision that is in the best interest of the children.
If you have questions about Parent Coordination, please contact Laurie Wasserman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-842-1070. The legal team at the Law Office of Laurie M. Wasserman is here to help guide and advocate for you.
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