Top court’s vaccine decision should be read correctly

Top court’s vaccine decision should be read correctly

Mother Halime Sare Aysal and father Mustafa Aysal did not want to have their newborn baby vaccinated with the vaccines the Health Ministry defines as “compulsory.” 

The Uşak Provincial Directorate of the Family and Social Policies Ministry took the couple to court in 2012. The ministry demanded a court order so that the couple’s child would be vaccinated.

The Court of First Instance decided in favor of the ministry, in other words for the child to be vaccinated, but the Aysals challenged the court’s decision at the Uşak Family Court. The second court acknowledged the couple at the beginning of 2013 and lifted the first court’s decision.

Right at that stage, the Aysals submitted their individual application to the Constitutional Court. 

The Constitutional Court accepted the application and took it to its general assembly to be debated. On Nov. 11 the court ruled in favor of the Aysals. The justified decision was posted on the court’s website the other day, thus enabling us to discuss it. 

This decision unfortunately, was covered in newspapers and news sites with titles “Baby shots ruled against the constitution.” When I read the decision, I saw that it was not exactly like this. 

Unfortunately, in our country a debate, which was imported - with much delay - from the United States, is being held over these compulsory vaccines. Generations who never met smallpox or the measles thanks to these vaccines they received are seriously considering not having their children vaccinated. According to press reports, there are reported incidents from Uşak, Sıvas, Konya and Elazığ, showing that this anti-vaccine stance is quite widespread.

When we look at the decision of the Constitutional Court, this decision can, under any circumstances, never be understood as “the court found the compulsory vaccination against the constitution.” 

The decision is telling the Health Ministry and parliament this: “You cannot make these vaccinations compulsory based on a law dating back in the 1920s and 1930s and based on a circular you issued yourself; for this, you have to issue an open and clear law.” 

Yes, if the Health Ministry is going to continue the practice of compulsory vaccination, then there has to be a law on this matter urgently processed in parliament. Otherwise, there is no legal foundation, for the moment, to oblige families to get these vaccinations.

1998 article withdrawn 

The anti-vaccination stance is based on an article published in 1998, though the data used in the article has since been proven false and the article was withdrawn. Pharmaceutical companies changed the preservers of the vaccines but the anti-vaccine stance continued.

Then, in 2006, model, actor and TV host Jenny McCarthy said her child was diagnosed with autism. She and her boyfriend at the time, famous film star Jim Carrey, fueled the campaign. 

Then the least-wanted thing happened and those children who were not vaccinated died of measles. Meanwhile, the fraud in the 1998-dated article and the fact that none of the vaccines had any harm to the children were proved after spending millions of dollars. Arrows were turned to McCarthy; she washed her hands clean by saying “I am not anti-vaccine.” 

Now, I see with concern that these baseless claims also find their way into newspaper columns and TV shows in our country. 

Those who write about and talk about these claims don’t seem to be aware that the lives of our children, our most precious assets, are at stake.

The anti-vaccine crew is not doing our children any favors.