In a rare move by the Israeli court system, parents have been ordered to vaccinate their 2-year old child after his foot received second degree burns from a bonfire. The parents were called to Hadera Family Court when they did not comply with the doctor’s recommendation for the child to receive a tetanus shot. When the doctor understood this, he called on the authorities to intervene.
The parents repealed their court order with a note from their family doctor, saying that since they have not seen symptoms, the child does not need the tetanus shot. The parents feel strongly against vaccination and fear the child’s reaction. Tetanus shots are recommended for deep burns and young children who are in danger of infection.
While the judge acknowledged their right to not want to vaccinate their child, he placed the health of the child first and foremost stating that “the minor’s well-being is the most important consideration. I am convinced that in this specific case in light of his injury, the benefits of an inoculation are bigger than the risks it poses. I don’t think that the parents’ stance can be accepted, and the court ought to use its authority.”
The parents asked to appeal the judgement; however, their request was denied. The Health Ministry intervened fearing the injury could lead to a tetanus infection, and prioritizing the child’s potential safety as opposed to the parents fears of vaccination. If the parents choose not to complete the vaccination, social services and the Israeli police force have the rights to get involved.