This case concluded some time back but with life being life, time to follow up on it simply hasn’t existed. Earlier I had posted on a case of a Sydney couple who fled their home and went into hiding to avoid having their newly born baby vaccinated against Hepatitis B, despite the Mother already having the condition. It seems that that action by the parents got them what they wanted.
26th August 2008
A Sydney couple in hiding after they refused to have their newborn baby vaccinated against hepatitis B is now free to return home.
The NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) today decided not to pursue further action against the couple after the timeframe for an effective vaccination lapsed.
DoCS, with police assisting, was unable to locate the couple, despite having spoken with the mother on a number of occasions and urging her to come forward.
The parents fled their Croydon Park home on Thursday to avoid police and DoCS officials, after refusing to have their three-day-old son vaccinated at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
The baby’s mother, who is from China, was diagnosed with hepatitis B several years ago.
On medical advice, DoCS took a recommendation to the NSW Supreme Court last week and ordered the parents to vaccinate the baby.
But DoCS today decided to discontinue action because the vaccination would no longer be effective.
“It appears that the parents of a newborn at risk of contracting hepatitis B have not presented their baby for medical treatment,“ DoCS said today in a statement.
“According to medical advice, there is no longer sufficient evidence of the effectiveness of any vaccination.”
DoCS said it would keep the case open until it was able to verify the welfare of their children.
The parents also have a three-year-old child who DoCS believe has also not been vaccinated against hepatitis B.
The parents believe the illness, which can cause liver cancer and cirrhosis, can be managed more effectively without vaccination.
They fear the vaccination could cause their child neurological damage, despite assurances from medical experts the vaccine is safe.
Vaccinations are not compulsory in Australia, but it’s NSW health policy for babies born to hepatitis B mothers to be given the immunoglobulin injection within 12 hours of birth.
The vaccination loses efficacity as time lapses and is considered ineffective by about one week after birth.
So the parents simply chose the completely irresponsible position of non-vaccination and went into hiding until such time as there would be no medical benefit of having the vaccination anyhow. There are several things very wrong with this case:
- The parents defied a court order and will not be punished for it.
- The parents defied sound and proven medical advice, which will almost certainly lead to incredibly poor health for the baby in question.
- Chances are the decision of the parents will lead to completely unnecessary strain on the health system as the baby, and probably also the baby’s sibling, will need treatment because of the Hepatitis B infection.
- The decision places every single child (imagine if the little baby goes to a daycare center later in life) at risk. No matter how small the risk of spreading the infection may be, it is a risk that could have been reduced to zero by the act of vaccination.
So, in short, the entire affair is an apparent shambles; one where stupidity and ignorance have seemingly won the day over reason and common sense.