Here’s what could happen if divorced parents disagree on whether their kid should get a COVID-19 vaccine

If a parents disagree about the COVID-19 vaccine, parents could be sent to court to settle the dispute

HOUSTON – Some parents are very much looking forward to vaccinating their kids.

“Just feel a little bit safer with everything right now, and you know, just keep doing our part to help everyone else feel safer,” said one Houston mom.

While the topic makes others downright angry. We’ve heard some reasons why.

“It’s just so new and we don’t know what the long-term effects are yet,” said one dad.

Even though doctors like Keith Jenson, the regional medical director of pediatric emergency medicine at HCA Healthcare, are trying to squash concerns.

“They have a lot of information now and we are seeing some cases where you’ve seen some people who were vaccinated and did come down with COVID afterward, but we also know that those cases, they don’t get as sick,” Dr. Jenson said.

Parents who disagree with each other about whether to vaccinate can end up in court.

“The judge can find that the child’s pediatrician is the ultimate tiebreaker,” KPRC 2′s legal analyst Brian Wice said.

Wice said the issue is actually more clear-cut if the parents are divorced.

“Ultimately, a divorce decree will spell out who gets to make that call about medical decisions, and in this case, whether or not to VAX the child,” he said.

If a disagreement about children’s medical decisions happens between a married couple, this could be the polarizing issue that brings a judge between them and their children.

“If you’re married, ironically, it’s a much more complicated situation with a much greater potential for the story ending badly because there are no divorce decrees and there are no provisions and there are no rules about who’s going to be able to pull the trigger,” Wice said. “Both parents by definition have an equal voice and so what does that mean? It means ‘we’ll see you in court.’”

To keep vaccines a decision among families and not the courts, Wice and Dr. Jenson both advise that you talk to your pediatrician about what is best for your child.

“That is a resource to you and the family who I think has helped answer some of those questions and they have a relationship with the parents with the patient,” Dr. Jenson said.

Dr. Jenson recommends reviewing COVID vaccine data on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.