SINGAPORE: A Singapore court has ordered the father of two Indian girls aged seven and 13 not to influence their views on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the media reported on Saturday.
The order came with the court’s dismissal of the father’s application to bar his wife from getting their daughters vaccinated without his consent.
The couple is in the midst of divorce proceedings, according to the grounds of the decision dated February 14 that Channel News Asia cited as obtaining on Wednesday. The two daughters are Indian citizens who were in Singapore on student passes.
The father had unilaterally cancelled the girls’ passes to remain in Singapore after his wife served divorce papers on him.
The report did not identify the couple and also did not name the children. The judge noted that the father has an asymptomatic medical condition.
According to the father’s submissions, he weighed the pros and cons of getting the COVID-19 vaccine and chose to “err on the side of caution”.
The man said that he was not against vaccines generally and that his daughters had received all the compulsory child vaccinations required in India.
“This goes to show any medical concerns over vaccination only relate to the father himself and not to the children,” the Channel quoted the judge as saying.
“Whilst the father’s own concern over-vaccination is understandable, this has no material bearing to the children’s vaccination as they have no known health conditions of their own,” the judge said.
The judge found that the father gave “no legitimate reason” for objecting to the COVID-19 vaccinations, and disagreed that the injunction the man sought would be in the interest of his children.
Noting that the paramount consideration was the welfare of the children, the judge found that vaccination was beneficial to and in the interest of the two girls.
The judge also took into account the evidence of the mother that the girl’s views on vaccination appeared to have been “influenced significantly”.
The judge agreed with the mother on an additional order to “ensure that the father does not unduly seek to influence the daughter’s views on vaccination”.
The father was ordered, “not to tell, or suggest to, the children, directly or indirectly, that vaccines are untested, unsafe, ineffective, or that they are particularly at risk from vaccinations”.
He was barred from letting any other person have such a discussion or make any such suggestion to his daughters, whether directly or indirectly.
He was also ordered, “not to show the children movies, social media sites, websites, other online information, literature, or any other material that calls into question the safety or efficacy of vaccines, or permit any other person to do so”.
“On the whole, I cannot see how vaccination of the children is a selfish desire on the mother’s part,” said the judge.
“Instead, it appears more likely than not that the father’s opposition to vaccination is a result of his own desire not to renew the children’s passes so that he and/or the children would have no choice but to leave the jurisdiction,” the Channel quoted the judge as saying.