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Parents Refused Vaccination of Hepatitis B for Newborn Baby Son

Parents of a newborn baby boy have gone into hiding from the authorities who want to vaccinate the baby against Hepatitis B.

Although it is not compulsory in Australia to have the vaccinations it is a policy to give the treatment which spans over six months to newborns if the mother has been diagnosed with Hepatitis B.

The couple, who have fled, have done so because they feel that giving their son the immunoglobulin could do more harm than damage and the disease Hepatitis B can be treated more effectively than the recommended dose the doctors want to use.

Supreme State Order Taken Out Against Parents

The mother who was originally from China, had been diagnosed with the illness several years ago, gave birth to her baby at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney last week where the protection authorities applied for, and won, a State Supreme Court Order after the parents had refused the treatment.

The parents are now seeking an injunction and hoping a judge will overrule the court order and let them decide on their own baby’s treatment.

Father Speaks to Newspapers

The father, who is a financial adviser, told their story to the Fairfax newspaper of how the staff at the hospital warned them that they were to be arrested and could possibly lose custody of their son if they refused to go ahead and allow them to vaccinate the baby.

He told reporters ‘We gathered some things and fled the house.  I don’t agree with the one-size fits all policy.  He is a small baby (2.49 kilograms) and they give the same dose to babies twice his size.  I just wanted time to get more information about the vaccine”

The father divulged that he had refused to have his daughter vaccinated against the disease in 2005 shortly after she was born.

Even after stating he wanted to find out more and making an appointment to see the family doctor, the father failed to show up and it was after they were told the child would be taken away from them that they decided to flee. 

Police Hunting for Family

The Supreme Court order stated that the baby boy’s treatment was to start before midnight on Thursday.  The parents have said they are adamant and will not allow them to vaccinate their son and will stay hidden indefinitely if they do not win the injunction against the court order. Fairfax reported that the case is due to resume again on Monday.

A Child’s Rights

while the welfare authorities and police are searching for the family and the doctor who contacted state authorities stated that “the child’s rights were being ignored”.

David Isaacs, who is a professor in paediatric infectious diseases, said “I am a strong believer in vaccinations being voluntary but not getting this baby vaccinated is a form of child abuse”. 

He went on to say “We are talking a potentially major and awful outcome for this child and it our job to protect children when they can’t make decisions for themselves”.

Frank Mennilli who is the Assistance Police Commissioner in New South Wales refused to say if the parents, once found, would be charged. “It’ll be something that’ll have to be assessed once the child is located” he said.

More information on Hepatitis B and treatment >>