Children ordered to have MMR jab

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Children ordered to have MMR jab

Post by tocyvi on Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:58 pm

I watched Friday's edition of "Newsnight" with mixed feelings. A judge has ordered that two sisters, aged 11 & 15, should be vaccinated, albeit against the wishes of the mother and the children themselves. The girls’ father, who is separated from their mother, asked the court to order the vaccination and the judge subsequently ruled for the father. The vaccination was due to have taken place by Friday night but has not yet happened.

I can see that the court may well think that the MMR jab is in the girls’ best interests, especially now that the previous concerns about autism have proved to be false. I can further understand that the court may, in exceptional circumstances, make a child a ward of court, for example when a parent refuses, on religious grounds, a blood transfusion on behalf of the child.

However, I can also understand that a child’s views and opinions should be recognised and respected, even if those views appear to be at odds with the perceived wisdom. It is an added complication that the mother and father failed to agree on the issue.

At a push, I suppose, I would have to side with the court’s decision because it feels that the children’s health may be at risk from their own, and their mother’s view.

It does throw up some interesting questions, however:
1) At what age does a child suddenly become adult enough to decide on his/her own health issues? 16? 18?
2) If the MMR vaccine is so important to a child’s health that a court can force him/her to have it, why isn’t it mandatory for all children?
3) If the father hadn’t asked for the judgement and received a positive response, would the mother have been morally and/or legally guilty of not caring properly for her children?

I am not asking out of sheer bloody-mindedness. I genuinely want to hear other peoples’ views to help me make my own mind up.
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Re: Children ordered to have MMR jab

Post by Inkflo on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:25 pm

It's a very tough call this one.
When we were young, we did all get every vaccination that was going.
The MMR vaccine wasn't available then, but we had pretty well every other one, polio, smallpox, TB etc.
We all had measles and we all had mumps. One of us had rubella, and we are all here to
tell the tale, but had the vaccine been an option, I know we would have all been given it,
without question.
I think the reason that the father may have changed his mind, is because there have been
more outbreaks of measles in the UK quite recently, and in older children and adults, it can be
a very serious disease.
As to the rights and wrongs, I can't say, but if they had all had the vaccinations when they were
small, this situation wouldn't have arisen.
As you say, the Doctor that started the autism worries, has now been proved wrong, but it seems to me
that he has a lot to answer for.

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Re: Children ordered to have MMR jab

Post by tocyvi on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi Inkflo
Thanks for your thoughts - you sound as unsure/confused/in two minds as I am. I hope others will chip in with their contribution. As you say, Inkflo, it's a tough call.
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Re: Children ordered to have MMR jab

Post by Tony H on Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:59 pm

I saw a very good impartial summary from some sort of legal person on the news.

The age is consent is 16 and had she been that age she could have refused. However she is 15 but obviously has views which the judge didn't want to ignore. After being spoken to by the judge he decided that she didn't have enough understanding of the issue to make a reasoned decision and so decided for the father given the potential health risks involved.

Mind you I caught everything going when I was a kid and emerged unscathed, but many other weren't so lucky. With less TV etc around at the time there was far less publicity about the more serious effects of these illnesses.

Assuming that the vaccination really doesn't have any side effects I side with the court.

As for it being mandatory, there was some talk a while back about such a thing and trying to enforce it by cutting child benefits for parents who refused ... that seemed to have died a death presumambly under the human rights act.

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Re: Children ordered to have MMR jab

Post by Richard T on Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:39 pm

The key to this is that the judge made her decision based on what was in the best interests of the girls. This, I am sure, is the normal criterion used when ruling on matters that affect children.

So although I agree that there seems to be two valid sides to the argument I suspect that the we don't know the full story - but the judge does!

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Re: Children ordered to have MMR jab

Post by tocyvi on Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:30 pm

Thanks to both of you. As I said earlier, the vaccination hasn't actually happened yet, so I'm interested to see where it goes from here.
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