Parents who refused an urgent blood donation for their child from a Covid-vaccinated donor have been stripped of custody.
A court in Auckland, New Zealand, temporarily took medical custody of the baby away from his parents on Wednesday, ruling in favour of health authorities.
The four-month-old boy has been placed into the guardianship of authorities until after he undergoes an urgent heart operation and recovers. His parents remain in charge of decisions about him that do not relate to the operation.
The parents’ legal battle has been embraced by anti-vaccine groups, who gathered outside the court as evidence was presented this week.
Parents ‘used discredited arguments’
High Court judge Ian Gault said he accepted the affidavits of health experts who said millions of blood transfusions had been performed around the world since Covid vaccines were introduced, and the vaccines had not caused any known harmful effects.
The ruling is likely to set a precedent and come as a relief to healthcare groups that collect and use donated blood.
The boy’s parents said they had unvaccinated donors willing to give blood for their son’s operation, but health authorities argued that such directed donations should only occur in exceptional circumstances, such as for recipients with very rare blood types.
Health authorities also said the unvaccinated donors would not necessarily give them access to all the blood products they might need during the boy’s surgery.
The court heard that the parents used discredited arguments and fringe theories to try to show that mRNA vaccines were unsafe.
The judge said the baby’s parents were loving, wanted the best for their son and accepted that he needed surgery. He said the relationship between the parents and clinicians had suffered and that they should try to improve it before and after the surgery.
Court rules prevent the baby and parents from being named. Court documents identified the mother as a midwife.