David Isaacs, a professor in pediatric infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and one of the doctors who contacted DOCs, said the case had angered staff because the baby’s rights were being ignored.
“I am a strong believer in vaccinations being voluntary but not getting this baby vaccinated is a form of child abuse,” he said. “We are talking a potentially major and awful outcome for this child and it is our job to protect children when they can’t make decisions for themselves.”
Professor Isaacs said the baby had a 5 to 40 per cent chance of contracting hepatitis B from its mother and “about 30 per cent of people with hepatitis B will develop cancer or cirrhosis and die young … I don’t understand why these people are willing to sacrifice their child for a warped idea when the benefits far outweigh the risks.”
Is choosing not to vaccinated your child a form of child abuse?
That’s the theory offered in Sydney by the Department of of Community Services (DOCS) after parents refused to vaccinate their 2-day old baby against hepatitis B. The mother has hep B and in New South Wales, all children born to infected parents are offered the vaccination. In my opinion, the operative word is offered – it’s not compulsory and not against the law to refuse it. And yet DOCS has taken out a Supreme Court Order to force the parents to vaccinate the baby.
Now, a disclaimer: I’m all for vaccination. I feel that if we’ve managed to eradicate certain illnesses, why not give our children the benefits? But I’m fully aware that there are a lot of parents out there who choose not to vaccinate – believing that the additives are harmful and there are possible links to autism. Nothing is proven, but fair enough, we live in a free world and we’re allowed to make our own decisions.
As the father says:
“I don’t agree with the one-size-fits-all policy. He is a small baby [2.49kg] and they give the same dose to babies twice his size. I just wanted time to get more information about the vaccine.”
Now it’s true that they haven’t vaccinated their older child either – again, a choice they’ve made. Can it really be qualified as child abuse?