Three siblings, one of whom is at high risk of serious illness if he catches Covid, have been ordered to get vaccinated by a family court judge.
The children's father has also been banned from any further contact until that happens after Justice Anthony Greig ruled he didn't want to take the risk of them catching the virus.
A leading paediatrician says the Pfizer vaccine has been proven to offer significant protection for young people, especially those with health issues.
The case ended up in court after the separated parents of the children disagreed over whether they should receive the vaccine.
The father was himself unvaccinated and didn't want his children to get the jab, while the mother, a healthcare professional, was strongly advocating they all receive it.
Judge Greig's decision is now the third this year involving parental disputes over vaccines.
Earlier this year an 11-year-old boy was ordered to receive the vaccine by a judge in Dunedin, while a judge in Whakatane let a 12-year-old make up his own mind about whether to get vaccinated after his parents disagreed about what was best for him.
In this most recent case, which was heard in February, the middle child was assessed by his doctor as being at risk of severe difficulties should he contract the virus without being vaccinated.
The doctor also recommended his 8-year-old brother receive the vaccine but made no recommendation regarding their 12-year-old sister.
In his decision, Judge Greig noted that receiving the vaccine would severely diminish the likelihood of the middle child becoming sick.
"The risk of [child] developing serious illness in the event that he catches Covid-19 will be significantly diminished if he is vaccinated. The science in support of that contention is overwhelming.
"Indeed, if [the boy] was in the care of two parents who were refusing to vaccinate him, I would consider having him removed from their care until such time as he could be properly vaccinated," he said.
Judge Greig said the father did not trust the Pfizer vaccine and did not want his children vaccinated.
"He does not trust the science that has been accepted by Governments around the world that say this vaccination is not only safe but will protect against severe Covid," he said.
"As a result, he does not consent to the children being vaccinated."
The father said he believed that the children's mother was seizing the vaccination issue illegitimately and insincerely as a way of limiting contact with the children.
Instead of getting vaccinated he proposed that he would wear a mask, frequently sanitise his hands, and ensure any meeting took place outdoors in order to still have contact with his children.
Ultimately the Judge said he wasn't willing to take the risk and ruled the father's contact be suspended until all three children had been vaccinated "to their General Practitioner's satisfaction".
"At the point that they have been fully protected this matter is to be referred back to me to review the position and, hopefully, reinstate [father's] supervised contact. It should not take too many weeks," Justice Greig wrote in his decision.
Dr Jin Russell, a community and developmental paediatrician in Auckland, said it wasn't always possible for families to agree on vaccination but often misinformation was at the root of most disagreements.
"I think where there are disagreements at the root of that, misinformation which has influenced someone in the family and this is why it's really important that as health professionals we continue to speak up about the excellent safety profile of this vaccine so that people can receive this information from health professionals that they trust."
Asked whether we could expect more decisions to be delivered from courts to settle family disputes, Russell said it was hard to say.
"But it's not unexpected to have strongly held differing opinions between parents, that's why I say that ideally, parents make a decision together, and ideally it would be in favour of vaccinating children.
"It's not always possible for families to agree but I would encourage families to take into account the wishes of older children as well when making these decisions.
"As a paediatrician, vaccination is absolutely the right step for all of our children and young people to protect them from Covid-19. It has an excellent safety profile and is very effective in reducing serious illness.
"Children who have pre-existing conditions have the most to gain from being vaccinated."