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New York judge orders girl, 11, to have COVID vaccine against wises of her scientist dad

New York judge orders girl, 11, to have COVID vaccine against wishes of her scientist dad because child’s lawyer mom wanted her to get shot

  • The ruling comes in the re-opening of a 2012 divorce between Jeannie Figer and her ex, Donald Figer to ask the judge to let her vaccinate the child 
  • Donald didn’t want them to rush vaccination as there were not any studies conducted on long-term side effects of the vaccine on kids, court papers say 
  • The father is a scientist and college professor ‘at one of the area’s premier institutions’ 
  • Jeannie Figer pointed out that both she, Donald, and their 19 and 17-year-old daughters have already been vaccinated and wanted the 11-year-old to join them 


A judge in upstate New York has ordered an 11-year-old girl to get the Covid-19 vaccine, siding with the girl’s lawyer mother in a legal dispute with her scientist father. 

The ruling comes in the re-opening of a 2012 divorce between Jeannie Figer and her ex, Donald Figer to ask the judge to let her vaccinate the child.

Donald, who has himself been vaccinated, didn’t want them to rush the shot for his daughter as there were not any studies conducted on long-term side effects of the vaccine on kids, court papers say.

The father is a scientist and college professor ‘at one of the area’s premier institutions.’ His Facebook page lists his place of employment as Rochester Institute of Technology. 

But Monroe County Supreme Court Judge Richard Dollinger ruled that time is of the essence in getting the 11-year-old vaccinated against the virus, and sided with Jeannie, who works as an attorney. 

Jeannie Figer reopened her 2012 divorce with ex-husband Donald to attempt to get a judge to order their daughter be vaccinated

Donald, a scientist and college professor 'at one of the area's premier institutions,' didn't want them to rush vaccination as there were not any studies conducted on long-term side effects of the vaccine on kids

Donald, a scientist and college professor ‘at one of the area’s premier institutions,’ didn’t want them to rush vaccination as there were not any studies conducted on long-term side effects of the vaccine on kids

The Figers three children and dog. The former couple's 19 and 17-year-old daughters are both already vaccinated

The Figers three children and dog. The former couple’s 19 and 17-year-old daughters are both already vaccinated

‘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.

‘Scientists may never catch up to this ever-evolving and elusive virus and variants.’

The judge ordered the mother to get her daughter a vaccination appointment as soon as possible. It is unclear if the girl has since had the shot. 

Dollinger noted that Monroe County – where the girl lives – has the second-highest rolling seven-day average of new cases per day since November 22. 

He’s worried about the incoming Omicron variant of the virus and an uptick of cases locally. 

Dollinger noted that he was confused as to why ‘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.’

Monroe County Supreme Court Judge Richard Dollinger ruled that time is of the essence in getting the 11-year-old vaccinated against the virus

Monroe County Supreme Court Judge Richard Dollinger ruled that time is of the essence in getting the 11-year-old vaccinated against the virus

Figer, according to his Facebook page, serves as a director at Rochester Institute of Technology in Upstate New York

Figer, according to his Facebook page, serves as a director at Rochester Institute of Technology in Upstate New York

Don Figer’s profession was not detailed in the ruling. His Facebook says he serves as a ‘director’ at RIT.  

Jeannie Figer pointed out that both she, Donald, and their 19 and 17-year-old daughters have already been vaccinated and wanted the 11-year-old to join them.

The ruling adds that the girl’s doctor has also recommended the jab.  

Dollinger said that the risks of side effects from the vaccine are lesser than what would happen if she tested positive for virus, including spreading it to others.      

‘This court is unwilling to kick this can down the road,’ Dollinger added. ‘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.’ 

Lawyers for both parties have yet to respond to requests for comment.

The Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in November unanimously voted 14-0 to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid pediatric vaccine dose for five to 11-year-olds.

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