Turkish health minister slams top court ruling on vaccination
AA photoTurkish health minister has criticized the recent ruling of Turkey’s top court that rules vaccination of babies and children without parental consent to be unconstitutional, saying the “broadened immunity program” developed and implemented by the ministry up until the ruling will remain in place.
“I wish the Constitutional Court issued the ruling taking into account insights from science institutions. Rights of individuals matter, but do not matter as much as that of the entire society,” said Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu at a press conference in Istanbul on Nov. 17.
Turkey’s Constitutional Court most recently ruled vaccination of babies and children without consent of parents to be unconstitutional, stating Article 13 and 17 as legal grounds for the ruling.
Article 17 states, “Everyone has the right to life and the right to protect and improve their corporal and spiritual existence. The corporal integrity of the individual shall not be violated except under medical necessity and in cases prescribed by law and shall not be subjected to scientific or medical experiments without their consent.”
The “broadened immunity program” that had been used nationwide for around 30 years was updated in July this year following the influx of Syrian migrants in large numbers due to the protracted war in the agonized Middle Eastern country.
“New amendments will be done taking the Constitutional Court’s ruling into account in the program, but we will keep the program in place,” Müezzinoğlu said, noting that the program had been successfully implemented so far.
The statement came as the Constitutional Court handed down a previous ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeals on child vaccination that stated parental permission was not necessary for certain types of vaccines, which are known to be the best for child health.
In its June 22 ruling, the Supreme Court of Appeals’ 2nd Civil Chamber said parental permission was not necessary for certain types of vaccines, stating a previous ruling as legal ground, which said parental permission did not need to be sought for “important” vaccines, recalling articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Turkish Civil Code which highlight the best interests of a child.
The top court’s 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 Health Ministry had previously said immunization through vaccination “is the best medical care in society to prevent diseases and deaths,” adding “vaccination has social and personal benefits and the program has eradicated epidemics like smallpox, saving many lives.”