A New Zealand high court judge has ruled in favour of health authorities who sought guardianship of a baby boy after his parents refused to consent to a transfusion of “vaccinated blood” in a life-saving operation.
The landmark decision, delivered on Thursday, is expected to have wide-ranging ramifications and has become a focus of protests for anti-vaxxers who held demonstrations outside the courtroom.
The six-month-old known as Baby W will not survive without urgent surgery for a congenital heart defect. His parents said they were unwilling to proceed unless they were given a guarantee he would only receive blood from unvaccinated donors.
New Zealand’s health authorities and blood service argued that allowing the parents to refuse vaccinated blood would set a dangerous precedent, in which patients could demand to pick and choose where their blood came from.