A B.C. judge has ordered the vaccination of two children over the objections of their mother, who questioned the safety of immunization.
The case went to provincial court in Salmon Arm, in B.C.’s southern interior, because of the father’s concerns about recent measles outbreaks and a warning that education officials might not allow his two sons to attend school during an outbreak unless they were immunized.
The mother attempted to introduce a report into evidence written by a U.S. doctor who testified in the high-profile case of a Michigan mother who fought for years to keep from vaccinating her young daughter.
But Judge Stella Frame questioned Dr. Toni Lynn Bark’s qualifications to speak about immunology, virology or epidemiology as well as her claims to be an expert in “vaccine adversomics.”
“It is difficult to know whether or not this is junk science or a recognized emerging field,” Frame wrote in her eight-page decision.
“Presented as it is in her report, her theory or opinion sounds like a conspiracy theory.”
‘Vaccination is preferable to non-vaccination’
The ruling highlights the role of the courts in adjudicating splits between parents divided over vaccination.
Frame’s decision refers to an earlier B.C. Supreme Court decision in which a judge rejected attempts to link vaccines to autism. Frame said she had reached the same conclusion.
“The current best evidence is that vaccination is preferable to non-vaccination, that it is required in order to protect those who cannot be vaccinated as well as to protect ourselves, and that any adverse reaction the person may have from the vaccine is largely outweighed by the risk of contracting the targeted disease,” Frame wrote.
The parents at the heart of the case are referred to by their initials in the ruling, which comes after an application from the father — DRB.
DRB and DAT have two boys from a five-year relationship that began in 2012. Both children are healthy, have no immunity problems and no ailments that would make them ineligible for live vaccines.
But DAT has refused to consent to vaccination or X-rays done at the dentist’s office.
According to the ruling, her opposition to X-rays led to one child needing a root canal, a filling and teeth removed.
“DRB said that multiple dentists at the dentist office had recommended that they do those X-rays,” the ruling says.
‘That is simply not the case’
DAT claimed she worked at a health centre and “was having discussions with various people about what was happening around these flu vaccines.”
She said she had gone to see a naturopath who spoke about adverse reactions. DAT decided she wanted the boys tested for a gene variant as well as allergies and food sensitivities before being vaccinated.
DRB was opposed to paying for testing that he felt was unnecessary.
The report from Bark was actually written for another child, but the mother offered it to DAT to help her argue her case.
Bark, an Illinois doctor, has spoken frequently in opposition to vaccines and testified as a witness in support of Lori Matheson, a Detroit mother who made headlines in the U.S. fighting vaccination.
Although the judge in that case allowed Bark to testify about her own practice, she refused to qualify Bark as an expert witness on vaccinations, reaching a similar conclusion to Frame about Bark’s claims and credentials.
“One of the diseases that she claimed is very low risk to contract is measles,” Frame wrote.
“That is simply not the case. She also identifies tuberculosis, which is also not eradicated in some parts of Canadian communities. She believes these vaccinations are unnecessary because the identified or targeted diseases have essentially disappeared from developed countries.”
‘The responsibility of the parents’
For his part, DRB introduced two binding B.C. Supreme Court decisions in which judges concluded that the benefits of vaccination outweighed the risks of not being immunized, along with excerpts from reports about the value of immunization from a series of medical and research organizations.
Frame noted that not everyone is recommended for immunization, but the two boys did not fall into that category.
“That does not mean to say that parents should blindly follow whatever medical advice they are given. Errors — sometimes catastrophic ones — can be made by the pharmaceutical and medical industries,” the judge wrote.
“It remains the responsibility of the parents to hear the advice, ask the questions, do the research and reach the appropriate decision for their children.”
Frame decided that DRB should have sole responsibility for the medical and dental treatments for both boys and that they should be immunized according to Immunization B.C.’s immunization schedule.
WHO 'very impressed' with Chinese response to coronavirus outbreak – National Post
GENEVA — The World Health Organization (WHO) is “very impressed” with the Chinese response to the global coronavirus outbreak so far, a senior official said on Wednesday, adding that the world had reached a critical point in efforts to tackle the disease.
“They are taking extraordinary measures in the face of what is an extraordinary challenge,” said Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme who accompanied the body’s chief on a trip to China this week.
“We are at an important juncture in this event. We believe these chains of transmission can still be interrupted.” (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge Editing by Gareth Jones)
Airlines suspend flights, extraction efforts in the works as Wuhan coronavirus infects thousands – CityNews Vancouver
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The death toll from the novel coronavirus has now hit triple digits as more and more cases pop up in over a dozen countries.
Just this week, the first presumptive case of the virus was confirmed in B.C., after two others were confirmed in Ontario days earlier.
Watch: Presumptive case of coronavirus in Vancouver
Around 6,000 people have been infected in mainland China and a number of other countries thus far, surpassing the number of people infected by the SARS outbreak in the country back in the early 2000s. At least 132 people have reportedly died.
In an effort to contain the outbreak, China has cut off all access to Wuhan — the epicentre of the outbreak — as well as dozen other cities.
This comes as some airlines have moved to cancel select flights to the region. Air Canada has cancelled some flights to China over the coming weeks, while several other airlines said they were reducing the number of flights to the country as demand for travel to the area drops because of the outbreak.
British Airways announced it was suspending all flights to and from mainland China after the U.K. government warned against unnecessary travel to the country amid a virus outbreak.
Back in Canada, images have been circulating online, showing people with large water bottles worn on their heads and faces, some suggesting to protect against coronavirus.
While Vancouver International Airport hasn’t confirmed this was actually happening, it did say in a tweet, “Obviously not an effective measure.”
— Vancouver International Airport (@yvrairport) January 28, 2020
As airlines and travellers adjust their schedules because of the outbreak, the federal government is mulling over just how to get Canadians who want to come home out of China.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says that every Canadian who has reached out for consular assistance will receive it, adding about 250 Canadians have registered with Global Affairs Canada to say they are in Wuhan. The federal government says 126 of them have asked for help to get home.
Canada is “looking at all options,” Champagne says. Meanwhile, Canada’s health minister says she doesn’t yet know whether any of the Canadians in quarantine in China are sick or would be quarantined if they do come home.
The spread of the new form of coronavirus has even impacted some international sporting events. A number of them have been postponed in China and Olympic qualifying tournaments are being taken elsewhere as a precaution.
-With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press
People are wearing water jugs over their heads against coronavirus (PHOTOS) – Vancouver Courier
While it isn’t uncommon to see people wearing face masks during an outbreak, some people take more extreme measures to protect themselves.
Earlier today, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed B.C.’s first novel coronavirus case: a man in his 40s who lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and recently returned from a trip to Wuhan, China.
Despite this, Dr. Henry says the risk of infection of the virus in B.C. is “still extremely low.” Nevertheless, some people are still concerned about contracting the virus in the Lower Mainland.
A person was photographed at Vancouver International Airport wearing what looks like a plastic container on their head and a mask over their mouth. In an image from the back, it appears that the person has cut a hole into the container in order to make room for their ponytail.
Lynne Carter posted the images to Facebook at roughly 2 p.m. on Jan. 28, captioning, “Fresh out of YVR. The latest anti-virus shields made with old water jugs.”
Carter also included a third photo of an adult with a child who are both wearing bottles on their heads.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention does not advise wearing containers on your head to prevent a coronavirus infection.
And while there are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection, the CDC advises that you may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
The World Health Organization stopped short of calling it a global health emergency last week, while officials here have said Canadians are at low risk of contracting the illness.
Nevertheless, experts stress the need to be vigilant and prepared for signs of infection. If you have mild cold-like symptoms, health officials encourage you to stay home while sick and avoid close contact to help protect others. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and be sure to throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
Here are some things for people in Canada to know about the coronavirus.
— With files from Nicholas Johansen / Castanet.
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