Parental permission not needed for child vaccination, top court rules
Oya Armutçu – ANKARA
DHA PhotoTurkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled parental permission is not necessary for the vaccination of babies and children, following a case where the parents of a one-year-old baby refused compulsory vaccinations for their child.
The Supreme Court of Appeals 2nd Civil Chamber said in its ruling that parental permission was not necessary for certain types of vaccines which were in a child’s “best interest” to receive.
With the ruling, babies and children will be vaccinated against certain diseases in line with the Health Ministry’s vaccination calendar, regardless of their parents’ preferences on the issue.
In cases where parents object to the vaccination, the Family Courts will rule on the vaccination of the child as a “health precaution.”
Families who insist on preventing their child from receiving vaccinations will face criminal and civil liabilities.
They will also face a lawsuit and be charged with “child neglect” in cases where they have prevented their child from being vaccinated. The state will be able to rule on physically removing the child from the family as a further step.
The ruling came after a case in which the parents of a one-year-old baby refused all vaccinations for their child in the Aegean province of Uşak in 2013.
The Uşak provincial department of the Family and Social Policies Ministry filed a lawsuit at the Uşak 2nd Family Court against the child’s parents, identified as M.A and İ.A., for refusing to give their one-year-old baby compulsory vaccinations on Sept. 22, 2013.
The court, however, dismissed the case on June 13, 2014. The Uşak provincial department of Family and Social Policies Ministry then appealed the decision.
The Supreme Court of Appeals then gave an exemplary ruling on May 4, in which it said parental permission did not need to be sought for significant vaccines, recalling the articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Turkish Civil Code which highlights the best interest of child.
“It is seen that the mentioned vaccine is among the ones which is necessary for protecting the child from the diseases in the future and protect the health of the society as it is mentioned in the Health Ministry’s ‘broadened immunity program’ calendar. A legal result cannot be driven in cases when the legal representatives of the child - without any reasonable excuse – do not permit the vaccination despite being informed about [its necessity], conflicting [with] the child’s best interest,” said the top court’s ruling.
“In other words, the permission is not needed if the decision of the mother and father clearly conflicts with the child’s best interest. In this case, the parents said during the hearings that they were against the vaccination of their child. They however failed to show any reason of evidence to prove their rightness. The dismissal of the case is found unlawful regarding the best interest of the child and the public health,” said the ruling, canceling the local court’s decision of dismissal.