The Tel Aviv family court intervened in an argument between separated, never-married parents regarding whether or not they should vaccinate their three-year-old son.
The parents separated while the mother was pregnant, and have a co-parenting agreement in which they raise the child together, but live separately. The child, now almost three, is scheduled to start preschool for the first time in less than two weeks.
At the crux of the argument were two parents with contradicting beliefs about the child's best interest: The father insisted on vaccinating in order to safeguard his son's health, and the mother insisted Israel does not mandate vaccinations, several of the vaccines are no longer necessary, and not vaccinating is better for a child's health. She also insisted, as do most parents who oppose vaccinations, that the push to vaccinate stems mostly from pharmaceutical companies' desire to line their pockets.
According to the mother, her child was protected by herd immunity, and therefore did not need to receive the immunizations himself.
Judge Vered Shavit Finkelstein, based on the medical opinions handed to her, ruled Israel's vaccination schedule to be safe, necessary, and effective at protection children. Complications from vaccinations, Finkelstein added, are extremely rare.
According to Finkelstein, the mother's claims - based on an anti-vax website - are faulty, misleading, and distorted. She also said that the trend of not vaccinating children carries a health risk to the general public, since it places immunocompromised individuals at risk of infection.
Court-appointed Professor Yona Amitai said immunizations are considered to be one of the safest health procedures in the world, and have brought about a drastic drop in child illness and death. Furthermore, he said, herd immunity may be compromised by unvaccinated immigrants, and it is immoral to rely on herd immunity simply in order to avoid vaccinating your own child.
"A parent who wants to raise his children according to the Spartan 'whoever doesn't die will get stronger' is risking his child in an inappropriate and immoral fashion," Amitai said.
The child will receive all vaccines except for two, which were deemed unnecessary due to his age.