Thursday, August 21st, 2008 - For Immediate Release:
A NSW couple are tonight in hiding after hospital doctors and the Department of Community Services took out a court order insisting that their baby, who is now only 48 hours old, be vaccinated against Hep B.
Steven and Cassandra* are the proud parents of baby Jonathan, born in Sydney on Tuesday this week. Cassandra had tested positive for Hep B several years ago and so, before leaving hospital with their newborn, she was advised to give the baby a Hep B vaccination. Having done her research, she believed that her child was at greater risk from the vaccine than from Hep B. She refused the shot as did her husband. After all, vaccination is not compulsory in Australia.
Because of this refusal, Cassandra and Steven were informed by hospital staff that they were not allowed to leave the hospital until the child was vaccinated. Refusal to do so would result in their arrest and a loss of custody. Due to these threats, they agreed to make an appointment at their GP on Thursday afternoon to have the shot administered. DOCs was called in to witness the vaccination and they were sent home with a warning that they had better show up for the shot.
The parents consulted with an advisor at Mr Kevin Green's office, the Minister for Community Services. They were informed that they were entitled to 72 hours to seek both legal and medical advice before this issue would be forced.
With that knowledge, they cancelled their appointment and prepared to find a good lawyer and medical advisor the next day. Unfortunately, once the appointment was cancelled, DOCs and the doctors involved at the hospital went into overdrive. They applied for and received a court order stating that this little baby had to be vaccinated by midnight tonight (Thursday, August 21st), a mere 48 hours after birth, or the parents would be found in contempt of court and would lose custody. Within a half an hour of this order, both DOCs representatives and the police were at this family's home.
The parents are now in hiding and are hoping to be able to seek an injunction tomorrow stopping this court order and allowing them the time to do what any Australian is entitled to do - to inform themselves of the benefits and risks of vaccination and to make a decision based on what is best for their child. This right is enshrined in the 9th edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook put out by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) - the guide to vaccination which is supposed to be followed by doctors and hospitals across Australia. This handbook states:
"Valid consent can be defined as the voluntary agreement by an individual to a
proposed procedure, given after appropriate and reliable information about the
procedure, including the potential risks and benefits, has been conveyed to the individual."
Please note the use of the word voluntary. When parents are forced to vaccinate against their wishes in a country like Australia which does not have compulsory vaccination, this is in contravention to the federal government's regulations regarding vaccination.
These parents are now on the run with their baby - living in fear at a time that should be the happiest time of their lives.
*Please note - names have been changed to protect these parents.
About Australian Vaccination Network, Inc.
The AVN is a non-profit, volunteer-run charitable association. Since 1994, the AVN has provided information and support to the general community who are trying to make informed choices about vaccination and health. Their lobbying in Federal Parliament has ensured that compulsory vaccination for children has not come to pass and they are the major reporters of vaccine adverse reactions to ADRAC (The Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee).