Israeli courts have ruled that minor children cannot be stopped from getting vaccinated against COVID-19 even if one of their parents objects.
Israel approved vaccinations for children as young as 12 last month, and weeks later launched a campaign to distribute doses to as many adolescents as possible, in response to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
Two recent cases in which one parent supported their offspring getting the shot and the other opposed have reached courts in recent weeks, yielding similar rulings.
Last week, the Haifa Family Court accepted a request by two 15-year-old brothers to get the shot, according to Hebrew-language media reports. The request was supported by their mother, though their father objected.
Judge Shelly Eisenberg said that given the circumstances, the boys’ welfare, health and express wishes matter most. She rejected the father’s argument that there is no urgency to getting the vaccine.
The boys had said the vaccine would help them keep participating in competitive sports in which they come in close contact with members of their age group, most of whom aren’t vaccinated.
On Thursday, the Haifa District Court rejected a woman’s appeal against a lower court ruling that said her daughter can get vaccinated despite the mother’s objection. The father in this case supported the daughter’s wish to get the shot.
The court ruled that the Health Ministry recommendation to vaccinate those aged 12-15 was made in accordance with the law, also accepting the argument that repeated quarantine periods have affected the girl’s mental health.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said that vaccinations, in particular for children, are a key tactic in halting the renewed outbreak while avoiding the reintroduction of restrictions that were imposed over the past year. Most adults have already been vaccinated.
The resurgence of the virus has become a major issue for Bennett’s new government, coming less than two months after the numbers of cases had dwindled, allowing Israel to lift most restrictions and reopen public life.
The resurgence of coronavirus in Israel has been largely attributed to the spread of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India and is believed to be twice as contagious as the original COVID strain.