Court Orders Tetanus Shot Over Parents’ Objections

Photo of vaccine for infants at an Israeli hospital. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

In what could be a legal milestone in the ongoing controversy over vaccinations, an Israel court has ordered that a child must receive a tetanus shot despite his parents’ objections, The Times of Israel reported on Thursday.

The parents of a one-and-a-half-year-old child who suffered severe leg burns two weeks ago refused the recommendation of a pediatrician to get a tetanus shot to protect against the deadly disease.

The pediatrician then reported the matter to health officials, which led to a petition filed by the Welfare Ministry with the Hadera Family Court.

“The vaccine is necessary,” state attorneys argued, “because of the concern that the burn wound could be infected with the tetanus pathogen.”

The judge’s ruling said that while “not ignoring the parents’ views, and their right to make decisions related to their minor son, including fundamental decisions,” the health issue overrode all other considerations.

“The welfare of the child is the primary consideration, and I have been convinced, in this specific case, in light of the child’s wound, that the benefits of the vaccine are significantly greater than the risks, and the court cannot accept the parents’ view.”

The court ordered immediate vaccination, and said the state could turn to welfare services and the police to enforce the decision, if necessary.

The parents, who oppose vaccinations on principle, relented and decided to abide by the court ruling and allowed the tetanus shot earlier this week, according to Channel 12,

The judge also noted that the parents “are good and concerned parents who care for their son, and their actions, as they understand them, are intended for the good and well-being of the child.”

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