New Zealand health authorities have launched a custody battle for a baby barred from “life-or-death” surgery by parents, who say they don’t want covid-vaccinated blood donors involved in the procedure.
The government has filed an emergency custody order with the Auckland High Court in a case that has sparked local protests and demonstrates the level of misinformation about the vaccine.
The four-month-old baby, whose name is not revealed in court documents, needs an “urgent operation” to correct a heart condition known as pulmonary valve stenosis, the mother said.
The surgical procedure was postponed because the parents did not want the child to receive blood from donors who received messenger RNA vaccines.
Health authorities rejected the parents’ request.
The country’s blood banks make no distinction between donations from people vaccinated or not against covid, as there is no extra risk by using blood from people who received the vaccine.
Authorities want partial custody of the child, leaving the parents in charge of non-medical care, to allow the surgery to take place.
The New Zealand Health Authority said it had appealed to the court in “the best interest of the child”.
Nearly 150 anti-vaccination protesters gathered outside the Auckland courthouse on Tuesday to express support for the family.
New Zealand’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was considered a success story in the world with a low death rate, even before the vaccination campaign.
But continued travel limitations, lockdowns and other restrictions have sparked concerns about eroding civil liberties and the emergence of a small but vocal group opposed to anti-COVID measures and vaccines.
© Agence France-Presse