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ARGENTINA | 05-09-2019 10:28

Parents ordered to vaccinate children in unprecedented court ruling

Family court judge orders parents to vaccinate their children, aged 5 and 7, under the framework of the Ley Nacional de Vacunación.

In an unprecedented ruling for the province, a court in Mendoza has ordered a married couple to vaccinate their children.

The couple were ordered to comply with the vaccination schedule laid down by national law, despite their personal objections to their children, aged five and seven, receiving the vaccines.

The family judge's decision, handed down a few weeks ago but only announced publicly over the last few hours, comes under the framework of the Ley Nacional de Vacunación ("National Vaccination Law"), which was passed back in January.

It is understood the children have now been vaccinated.

The ruling marks the first time a couple have been ordered under law to comply with national vaccination schedules for their children. The court based its decision on the fact that vaccinations are mandatory, that vaccines form part of the national government's public health strategy and that the collective interest weighed greater than the desires of individuals. 

Nearly all qualified medical professionals believe that immunisation is essential in order to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence among anti-vaccination groups based on a series of myths and non-researched claims that spread via the Internet.

"What we want to make known is that vaccines are mandatory in Argentina by law and that their importance is fundamental. The decision to vaccinate or not is not an individual decision. Because if I decide not to get vaccinated, I don't just put myself at risk, I also put others at risk," said Iris Aguilar, head of Mendoza's Immunisation Department.

In statements to the UNO local newspaper, the official added that "most of those people who have a reluctance toward vaccines do so because of myths, false claims and the many rumours seen on WhatsApp chain messages. Then there is a lot of false information circulating on [social] networks."

She added: "What we see every day is those parents or adults who have doubts about vaccines, and when we explain [vaccines] to them based on scientific evidence, they agree to get vaccinated. In fact, many parents clear awa their doubts and vaccinate their children without any inconvenience."


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