Since the Covid-19 vaccines were rolled out, millions of people got vaccinated against the deadly virus, but many still remain vaccine hesitant. From misinformation spread online to religious exemptions, around 25% of Americans are still unvaccinated at this point of the pandemic and they are facing pressure to change their minds every single day.
So was the case with R. Fowler, a father of a six-year-old son, who was unvaccinated until September of last year when he got the Covid-19 shots following the court’s recommendation for him to do so if he wanted to see his son who has a rare genetic disorder that compromises his immune system.
But despite his decision to follow the court’s recommendation and get vaccinated against Covid-19 so he won’t expose his son to risk, Fowler was denied to take his son home and he was ordered to see his son only outdoors, or some place out of his home, because Fowler’s wife is not vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the latest court order.
According to a Michigan county court, the order includes a vaccination requirement for Fowler, who is the boy’s father, and anyone around the child, excluding those not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or those with a documented medical exemption.
“All parenting time between the defendant and the minor child that takes place in the defendant’s home shall only occur in the home if everyone in the home, including but not limited to, the defendant, the defendant’s wife, or anyone else staying in the home or visiting the home who is lawfully allowed to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus and any of its variants are, in fact, fully vaccinated,” stated the Jan 20. order signed by Circuit Judge S. Kreeger.
The little boy, a recovered Covid-19 patient, contracted the virus early 2021 and developed severe condition. The court documents indicate that the boy was hospitalized for two weeks and discharged from hospital after this condition finally improved. The 6-year-old has a rare genetic disorder that compromises his immune system, making him especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
The boy’s mother, who is divorced from Fowler, was concerned about her son’s health and decided to file a motion to modify parenting time because Fowler was unvaccinated against Covid-19 at the time and he didn’t intend to get the shot anytime soon. According to court documents, the boy’s mother “testified to her concerns about defendant’s (the father’s) attitude towards COVID-19 protocols, which she feels puts the child at risk.”
“While reasonable minds may differ on the subject of covid-19 realities, including vaccinations, the child’s extraordinary health concerns make this issue particularly relevant to the parent time issue,” the September’s court order stated. The father, who hasn’t seen his minor son in over a year, was offered limited outdoor parenting time, but he refused it and decided to get vaccinated.
“He pretty much (has) lived his life like he’s done every other day, except … couldn’t see me because it wasn’t safe,” Fowler said. “I have to either exercise parenting time somewhere else or she has to leave (the house),” Fowler added.
Following last month’s court order, Fowler decided to file a claim to appeal the latest court decision which is nothing but an unusual order involving the COVID-19 vaccine and a parent’s right to see their child.
“I think the judge was feeling from the heart and not looking at the law,” Fowler’s attorney Eric Matwiejczyk said. “We don’t think that it will withstand judicial review.”