NY judge says 11-year-old must get COVID vax in messy divorce ruling

An upstate New York judge has sided with a mother in ordering her 11-year-old daughter to get vaccinated against COVID-19 — despite the father’s concerns.

Jeannie Figer in late November brought her estranged husband, Donald Figer, back to court in their 2012 divorce case to ask a judge to allow her to vaccinate her daughter over Donald’s objections.

Donald — a scientist and college professor “at one of the area’s premier institutions” — asked his ex not to rush to vaccinate their young daughter, saying there hadn’t been any studies conducted on the long-term side effects, according to court papers.

But Monroe County Supreme Court Justice Richard Dollinger disagreed, saying time is of the essence when it comes to getting the girl protected.

“Waiting — to be ‘sure,’ as the father asks — is simply untenable, when the specter of a killing or incapacitating disease is swirling in the environment surrounding this young girl,” Dollinger said in his ruling from Friday.

“Scientists may never catch up to this ever evolving and elusive virus and variants.”

Dollinger ordered Jeannie to schedule an appointment for her daughter to get the shot immediately.

The jurist said he’s concerned about an uptick in cases in the county, which declared a state of emergency “as hospitals were filling with ill COVID patients.”

The judge noted that since Nov. 22, there were 2,643 new cases in Monroe County, “in which the child lives,” and a rolling seven-day average of 378 new cases per day — making it the second-highest in any region of the Empire State.

Dollinger said he’s “somewhat perplexed that an accomplished scientist and professor would oppose a child vaccine authorized by the CDC and universally encouraged by state and local physicians and other health officials.”

Donald’s specific profession is not detailed in the judge’s ruling but he appears to serve as a director at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Jeannie said the estranged pair’s other two daughters, ages 17 and 19, have already gotten the COVID jab — as well as both parents — and the 11-year-old wanted to get the vaccine just like them, according to the ruling.

The 11-year-old’s doctor also recommended that she get the shot, the ruling says.

Don Figer asked his ex not to rush to vaccinate their youngest daughter.
Courtesy of Facebook

Dollinger noted that the risks from the vaccine are lower than the risks that would come from the girl contracting COVID-19 — such as experiencing severe symptoms from the virus and spreading it to others.

“This court is unwilling to kick this can down the road,” Dollinger wrote. “It could be years before any researchers have exacting accounts of either the short or long term consequences of the administration of this vaccine on 11-year-old girls with this child’s physiological makeup.”

This is not the first time that a judge has been asked to intervene in family disputes over the COVID-19 jab.

In October, matrimonial Judge Matthew Cooper suspended a Long Island dad’s visits with his 3-year-old daughter unless he got the vaccine or had weekly COVID-19 tests.

The issue of vaccinating children has divided many families, as one 15-year-old New Yorker told The Post in October. The high school freshman — whose name was withheld — said when he got the shot, his dad was “furious” and it’s now “a permanent rupture” between the father and son.

This issue can be even harder for divorced parents who share custody and have to make the choice together over whether to vaccinate their kids, matrimonial lawyer Carly Krasner Leizerson told The Post at the time.

Krasner Leizerson — repping a dad who was fighting with his ex-wife on whether to vaccinate their 14-year-old — said it “is a polarizing issue. This is not something that can be compromised, like which camp the child attends.”

Jeannie’s lawyer, Richard Curtis, declined to comment. Lawyers for the dad and the daughter did not immediately return requests for comment.

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