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Pearce v Bird [2022] NZFC 1042

Published 04 April 2022

Guardianship — care and contact — vaccinations — COVID-19 — global pandemic — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 4, 5 & 6. The parties were the parents of three children. The issues for the Court related to the two younger children: whether they should be vaccinated against COVID-19, and whether the respondent should be allowed contact with them while he himself remained unvaccinated. One of the children had a range of health problems that made him particularly vulnerable to a severe COVID infection, and several health professionals had strongly recommended that he be vaccinated. The other child's general practitioner had also recommended vaccination. The respondent opposed vaccination, citing concerns with the Pfizer vaccine, and argued that there were other measures that he could take to reduce the children's risk of contracting COVID. The Court found that the scientific consensus was that the Pfizer vaccine was safe and that vaccination would reduce the children's risk of contracting a severe COVID infection. Therefore the Court ordered that both children be vaccinated and that the respondent's contact with all three children be suspended until they were all fully vaccinated. At that point, the matter was to return to Court for review. Judgment Date: 10 February 2022. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *