Father Prohibited From Seeing Child Unless He Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

A New York City judge has ruled that a father in a custody dispute cannot visit his daughter unless he gets vaccinated for COVID-19 or agrees to get tested weekly.

According to the ruling, if the father does not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, he must take a PCR test every week, as well as a biweekly antigen test within 24 hours of seeing his child, the New York Post reported.

The father's lawyer, Lloyd Rosen, told the Post that his client "is not a conspiracy theorist. He has concerns about the vaccine. He's heard about side effects. He once had a bad reaction to a flu vaccine."

The mother has been supervising the father's visits with their 3-year-old daughter "due to a history of substance abuse and untreated mental health issues," according to the ruling.

Justice Matthew Cooper, who is presiding over the divorce and custody dispute, wrote that "here, in-person parental access by the defendant is not in the child's best interests, and there are exceptional circumstances that support its suspension."

The mother's lawyer, Evan Schein, said the ruling is "an incredibly important one that highlights the extraordinary times we are living in and reinforces that a child's best interests are paramount," according to the Post.

The daughter has been living with her mother and attending preschool in Manhattan.

The child's mother said on September 2 that the father would be allowed to see his daughter only with a COVID-19 vaccination, the Post reported. But she amended that position two weeks later and said he could visit if he agreed to get tested weekly.

Rosen said the father is still considering whether he will appeal, according to the newspaper.

child vaccine texas
Registered nurse Marcie Weissman comforts a child ahead of his COVID-19 vaccination shot on May 13 in Houston. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

New York City's data shows that for the week of October 3, the percentage of coronavirus cases in children ages 0 to 4 was 1.85 percent.

Meanwhile, Pfizer is asking the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its vaccine in children age 5 through 11. In Cuba, children as young as 2 are being vaccinated.

Parents have been divided on whether to vaccinate their children. As of September 30, 24 percent of parents said they would not vaccinate their child, while 33 percent said they would "'wait and see" how the vaccine is working before getting their children the shot, according to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation.