High Court turns down suit by opponents to oral polio vaccine campaign

600,000 children around the country have already received oral polio vaccine to halt the spread of the wild virus.

August 29, 2013 17:49
1 minute read.
PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES holds a child at the East Talpiot ‘tipat halav’ center in Jerusalem yesterday

peres helps out with polio. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)


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The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a petition by an organization that tried to stop the oral polio vaccination campaign.

The organization, called Izun Hozer Lehafatzat Hahaskala – which in the past fought to stop fluoridation of the public water supply – was told by three court justices that they didn’t have a leg to stand on in their petition.

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The Health Ministry, the court said, had done enough to prove the vaccinations were needed to protect the whole population while at the same time posing negligible risk to those up to the age of 10 receiving the two drops of vaccine.

When the voluntary organization asked the court to force the public health nurses who give the drops to state that those vaccinated would be healthy without them, the court said enough has been done to explain the subject to the public.

Only children who have already received the killed injectable polio vaccine are allowed to receive the attenuated- virus oral vaccine. Those who have received the shot cannot contract the paralytic vaccine; but those who have not been vaccinated, or who cannot receive the vaccine because they have weak immune system, will be protected indirectly by the destruction of the wild virus and the development of antibodies in their bodies via contact with those who received the drops.

More than 600,000 children around the country have already received the vaccine.

The ministry aims at vaccinating a total of a million children.

It launched the campaign on August 5 but thought it would take three months to vaccinate all relevant children at tipat halav (well-baby) centers. Fortunately, at this rate, it is expected to end considerably earlier.

I will take some two months, however, to see positive results from the oral vaccination campaign – a disappearance of the wild virus from sewage-treatment plants around the country.

The cost of the campaign, including the time of nurses, publicity and the vaccine itself, is expected to reach NIS 20 million or more.

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