12-year-old wins Covid jab court battle against anti-vax dad in Netherlands

A 12-year-old boy has won a court case in the Netherlands to get inoculated against Covid after his father expressed skepticism at the jab over concerns it was new and could have long-term consequences to health.

A Dutch court in the Northern city of Gronigen said on Thursday that it had ruled in favor of the child, who wanted to be inoculated in order to more safely see his grandmother. The unnamed minor argued that getting jabbed would diminish his chances of transmitting the infection to her as she battles lung cancer, which could otherwise be “life-threatening.”

Dutch law requires the consent of the parents of young people under 16 before vaccination. If no agreement can be reached, the minor has the right to make the final decision.

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The boy’s mother had agreed to his wishes, but his father had cast doubts over the safety of Covid jabs. According to him, the shots were “still in a test phase” and might cause issues to the child’s reproductive organs in the future, as well as heart problems.

Judge Bart Tromp ruled against the father, however, backing the interests of the child. He stated that the parent’s perceived long-term risks lacked any factual foundation, given current scientific understanding. He did acknowledge that there was a small risk of serious side-effects to the heart, namely pericarditis and myocarditis inflammation, but said such occurrences were very rare.

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He ordered that the boy be vaccinated “shortly,” dismissing any possible appeals the father or his legal team might make, so the 12-year-old could spend time with his grandmother in her last stage of life.

On Monday, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that its Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective for children between the ages of five and 11, based on data from its clinical trials, and that it would soon be seeking authorization from regulatory bodies worldwide.

The European Medicines Agency approved the use of the jab, marketed as Comirnaty, for children aged 12 to 15 in late May. Meanwhile, Moderna’s Spikevax shot was greenlighted for use in minors aged 12 to 17 in July.

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