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Unvaccinated dad loses custody of kids, including immunocompromised child

USA TODAY
USA TODAY
 2022-02-06

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An unvaccinated father in New Brunswick, Canada, lost custody of his three children, one of which is a 10-year-old immunocompromised child, according to reports from the CBC .

The father presented research to the judge that he believed questioned the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but the judge ruled against it.

"His own anecdotal research on such a highly specialized topic carries little to no weight in the overall analysis when measured against the sound medical advice of our public health officials," wrote Justice Nathalie Godbout of the Court of Queen's Bench.

The order allows the father to interact with the children over Zoom and reevaluate the sentencing if he does get vaccinated, but the mother can overrule his lack of parental consent to get her children vaccinated, according to the ruling, CBC reports.

For weeks, protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and other restrictions have held rallies in cities across Canada .

More children across the world are testing positive for the coronavirus. The most recent wave of the virus is driven by the omicron variant, which research suggests causes less severe disease but is more transmissible. Even with the new variant, kids are still far less likely than adults to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.

In a report last month by the World Health Organization, experts recommended that even if children have less severe symptoms for COVID, they should still get vaccinated to avoid disruptions to their education. They recommended that children who have possible comorbidities get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to reduce risk.

Children who have diabetes, Down Syndrome or cardiac, lung and kidney diseases are at a much higher risk of severe COVID-19, according to the WHO report.

This isn't the first case that parents have struggled in custody battles over vaccination.

In August 2021, a judge in Chicago barred Rebecca Firlit, the mother of an 11-year-old boy, from seeing her son under partial parental custody because she is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Firlit appealed the decision, claiming the judge was placing his views onto her, and it was later reversed.

“I’ve had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised not to get vaccinated by my doctor. It poses a risk,” Firlit told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I was confused because (the hearing) was just supposed to be about expenses and child support. I asked him what it had to do with the hearing, and he said, ‘I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.’ ”

VACCINATION CUSTODY CASES : Chicago judge rules mom cannot see her 11-year-old son because she’s not vaccinated

Firlit’s lawyer, Annette Fernholz, told several Chicago media outlets that Firlit  and her former husband have been divorced for seven years and that the ex-husband did not address the lack of vaccination as a problem. The two share custody.

The father's attorney, Jeffery M. Leving, said he supported the judge’s decision. "There are children who have died because of COVID,” Leving told The Washington Post. “I think every child should be safe. And I agree that the mother should be vaccinated.”

Contributing: Scott Gleeson

You can follow the author @michelle_shen10 on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Unvaccinated dad loses custody of kids, including immunocompromised child

Comments / 1350

Shelly White
02-06

That judges decision was wrong...THIS virus according to CDC and WHO is not that deadly toward children, those with health problems might want to get their children vaccinated but it's wrong for a judge to say a parent has to be vaccinated in order to have custody of their children.. You've overstepped your bounds judge by placing your views and like you said " I have the POWER to tell you whatever I feel is right " You are only there to hear the facts and make a judgment not give your point of view or judge based on your views....

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Gina Gail Short
02-06

wow, now they're taking away children from their parents because of vaccine status. wow how low can you go. I think a lot more people will be thanking God for those truckers and the freedom Convoy that's happening not only in Canada now but around the world now go be saving families and keeping children with their parents thank God for those Truckers!!

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Mary Lopez Collins
02-06

Wrong decision judge it’s proven that even those who are vaxx can still get the rona ! I’m sure that father is doing his best care for his children any father/ parent who done there research isn’t a parent that is slacking in parenting only a parent who walked in a court room without doing their research goes unprepared he shows that this mattered to him and his choice NOT to get vaxxed IS HIS GOD GIVEN RIGHT! Judge is wrong.

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