After a lengthy legal battle in Australia, a father has won the right to vaccinate his two children despite strong opposition by the mother.
The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, divorced several years ago. It is alleged that during the marriage, the father went along with the anti-vaccination views of the mother to "keep peace". Since their divorce, however, it became apparent to the father that the children were unable to engage in certain extracurricular activities because they had not been vaccinated, and some family members even refused to allow their children to socialize with these children because of this.
During the court case, the mother claimed that the children were likely to suffer damage from these vaccines due to particular allergies and therefore should not be vaccinated. A senior consultant in immunology, however, argued against this and told Justice Foster that the children do not have any allergies which would pose a danger if the children were vaccinated.
The mother also presented the judge with hundreds of documents which supposedly purported the dangers of vaccination, which Justice Foster said were mostly “comments, submissions, irrelevancies.” They included the links between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, despite the fact that the original study suggesting this has not only been withdrawn by the journal that published it many years ago, but has also been thoroughly debunked by the scientific and medical community.
The importance of vaccination has been highlighted recently by numerous outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. For example in 2012, England and Wales experienced the highest number of measles cases in two decades; over 2,000 individuals were infected. An outbreak of measles in New York City has also struck this year.
The father of the children in this court battle now has the right to bring his children up to date with routine childhood immunizations despite protests by the mother. The judge ruled that it is in the children's best interests to receive these routine vaccinations. This case is the latest in several legal battles which have ended in favor of the parent wanting to vaccinate their children.