In a landmark ruling that is sure to cause heated debate among the pro- and anti-vaccine crowd, a Kitchener, Ontario judge ruled that the 10-year-old daughter of a couple on either side of the debate must get the measles vaccine before she and her mother take a trip to Germany.
The couple, who are separated, were in an Ontario court in March to argue their sides in front of Justice R.J. Harper. The mother, who is anti-vaccine, believes she shouldn’t have to get their daughter the measles vaccine before the two take a planned trip to Germany together at the end of April, “I just wanted to take my child on vacation,” she said, “If it were up to me, I would say she doesn’t get vaccinated.” The father, on the other hand, wants his daughter to be protected against a preventable disease like the measles, especially considering the measles outbreak in Germany, which has already seen one reported measles-related death in an 18-month-old toddler in February is “10 times worse than the one in the United States,” according to the Washington Post.
“She tried to go to Germany and was willing not to protect the child, I have taken a stance to protect her from vaccine preventable diseases. I want her to be vaccinated, you know, she has that right. I feel that that right has been denied to her.”
Two weeks after their initial hearing, Judge Harper has ruled that the child must receive the measles vaccine prior to her trip abroad.
“I am of the view that I must consider the best interests of the child. The parents’ absolute prohibition on vaccinations for the child prior to age 12, in my view, is not in the best interests of the child. Prior to the child being taken on the trip to Germany, she shall receive a vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella or whatever vaccination combination for these diseases is recommended by the child’s family doctor.”
He also took aim at the parents themselves, and how they have been dealing with the vaccine issue in relation to their daughter.
“No 10-year-old child should be put in a position such as the child in this case.”
The mother — no names are allowed to be released due to a publication ban — who believes that her “15 years of research” makes her more qualified than doctors and scientists on the subject of vaccines, claims that “If people were to look into the science, morbidity and mortality rates,” she said following the ruling, “they would find that these diseases were on the decline before vaccines were introduced,” a statement that Dr. Natasha Crowcroft, chief of infectious diseases at Public Health Ontario refuted. “The vaccine is incredibly safe,” she says, in regards to the now-debunked claim that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine caused Autism. She also pointed out that of the 330,000 MMR doses given in Ontario last year, there were only 49 reported cases of mild side effects that ranged from from tenderness at the injection site to slight fevers.
Do you feel the judge was right in ordering the child to get the measles vaccine? Why or why not?
[Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]