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Local News

Anti-vax mum loses court battle

The mother told the court that she would ‘never consent to the child being vaccinated’ because she ‘has a conscientious objection to vaccination on the basis of her research.’

By Caroline Overington
The Family Court of Australia has refused to grant an order that would have prevented a father from taking his young son to be vaccinated.
The boy, who is currently six years old, has never been immunised.
His mother is vehemently opposed to vaccinations on the grounds that she believes that vaccinations may cause cancer and other health problems.In a case known as Arranzio & Moss, she asked the Family Court to make an injunction that would have stopped the father from taking the child to the doctor to get his shots.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons but who was known in court documents as Ms Moss, believes that her son suffers from a range of allergies to different foods. She sought an order that would "restrain the father from having the child vaccinated without her written authorisation".
The mother told the court that she would "never consent to the child being vaccinated" because she "has a conscientious objection to vaccination on the basis of her research".
In a decision handed down on July 17, Family Court judge Jenny Hogan, sitting in Brisbane, said that "what she really seeks is an order prohibiting the father from having the child immunised".
She refused to grant the injunction, saying that the evidence suggests that children are at far greater risk from the diseases that vaccines are designed to prevent than they are from the shots.
The boy's parents fronted the court disagreeing about almost everything, including what foods the child should eat. Their relationship was only ever brief, and the boy has lived with his mother all his life.
Each parent bought doctors into court, to fight out the vaccination issue. The mother’s doctor, known as Dr J, told Justice Hogan that she had previously held ‘anti-vaccination views’ but now believed that vaccination was sometimes appropriate for children who were, for example, not breastfed.
She runs clinic that offers alternative medicine, and she told the court that she tended not to see children who were not breastfed, or who attend day care. Justice Hogan said that "no weight could sensibly" be given to Dr J’s views on the case at hand, because Dr J had not even seen the child when she decided that he had an "underlying immune shift" that might make vaccination problematic for him. The father’s doctor, known as Dr G, was a specialist in childhood allergies who had studied at the famed Mayo clinic.
He told the court "disagreed fundamentally with almost all of Dr J’s evidence" describing many of the tests she wanted done on the boy as "total nonsense".
He described an assertion that the chicken pox vaccine caused shingles as "bunkum" and he said there was no evidence that vaccines cause cancer.
Dr G was adamant that vaccines are safe, and that the diseases they are designed to prevent, such as diphtheria, whooping cough and measles, had "high fatality rates" which was why vaccination had been introduced in Australia in the first place.
He said allergic reaction to a vaccination "was so rare that he had only had one or two people referred to him" over the years.
He "strongly believed that the illnesses against which vaccination are intended to protect are far more serious and life-threatening than any adverse reaction from the injection".
He also presented the court with evidence from a friend who "had suffered measles as a baby and was legally blind as a result".
He emphasised that Australians "are now far healthier than they ever were historically as a consequence of the eradication of diseases" and he "strongly believed vaccination was very safe".
Justice Hogan said "the consequences for the child of contracting a disease weighed significantly against the grant of an injunction" - meaning the father should not be banned from having the child vaccinated.
"While ever the child remains unvaccinated, he remains at risk of contracting these diseases," she said.
"Having regard to the above, I am not persuaded that an order restraining the father from having the child vaccinated is appropriate for the child’s welfare or in his best interests."
The father, known as Mr Arranzio, also won the argument over whether he deserved greater access to the child, who will now spent several days a week with him. He has not yet indicated whether he intends to have the boy vaccinated; an appeal is also likely.

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