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Dutch boy wins right to Covid-19 jab despite vaccine-skeptic dad

The 12-year-old wanted the vaccine so he can visit his grandmother who is battling lung cancer.

By: Deutsche Welle |
September 24, 2021 12:49:24 pm
A Dutch judge has ruled in favour of a 12-year-old's wish to get the COVID-19 shot so he can visit his dying grandmother. (AP photo for representation)

A Dutch judge has ruled in favour of a 12-year-old’s wish to get the Covid-19 shot so he can visit his dying grandmother, in defiance of his vaccine-skeptic father’s objections, Groningen District Court said on Thursday.

The unnamed boy in the northern Dutch city argued that getting the vaccine would reduce his chances of infecting his grandmother, who is battling lung cancer.

It is one of the first cases of its kind.

How did the case end up in court?

Children aged 12 to 17 in the Netherlands can choose whether to be vaccinated or not — but need permission from both parents.

In this case, the boy’s parents are divorced and his mother agreed.

His father, however, said vaccines “were still in a test phase” and said it was possible there would be “great risks for the reproductive organs in the long term.”

But the judge said there appeared to be no scientific basis for this argument.

Judge Bart Tromp granted permission for the boy to be vaccinated due to the “interests involved in vaccination, in particular the interest of this minor.”

He ordered that the boy be given the vaccine “shortly” because his interests were more important than any possible appeal by the father’s lawyers.

The boy wanted to be vaccinated “because he did not want to get infected and wanted to limit the chance of infecting others,” court papers said.

“On top of this, his grandmother is suffering from metastatic lung cancer and is in the final stages of her life,” according to the court.

“The minor wants to spend as much time as possible with her, but he is not vaccinated. He is afraid that he may infect his granny and is convinced that if he did it would be life-threatening,” the papers said.

The boy “found it difficult to talk to his father and felt his pleas were not being heard.”

The coronavirus has infected more than 2 million people in the Netherlands, killing 18,528, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

What are the rules for vaccines and adolescents?

People who are not fully vaccinated are 11 more times likely to die from Covid-19 than those with full protection, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And CDC data show that those who are fully vaccinated make up just 4% of hospitalisations.

Vaccines from BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna are currently approved in the EU for children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. The vaccine has shown 100% efficacy in a clinical trial with participants in that age group and was well tolerated, Moderna said.

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