The baby's parents had blocked the procedure on the grounds that any blood transfused could have come from a donor jabbed with an mRNA vaccine. Pictured: The mother and father of the four month-old baby leave the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday ahead of the court's decision on Wednesday
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A New Zealand court today took temporary custody of a sick baby whose parents blocked life-saving heart surgery because potential blood donors may be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Auckland High Court ordered the four-month-old boy, identified as ‘Baby W’ in court documents, to be placed under partial guardianship – allowing an urgent operation to correct a heart disorder known as pulmonary valve stenosis to go ahead.

The baby’s parents had blocked the procedure on the grounds that any blood transfused could have come from a donor jabbed with an mRNA vaccine. 

The couple used discredited arguments and fringe anti-vax theories to try to show that the jabs were unsafe.

The baby's parents had blocked the procedure on the grounds that any blood transfused could have come from a donor jabbed with an mRNA vaccine. Pictured: The mother and father of the four month-old baby leave the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday ahead of the court's decision on Wednesday

The baby's parents had blocked the procedure on the grounds that any blood transfused could have come from a donor jabbed with an mRNA vaccine. Pictured: The mother and father of the four month-old baby leave the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday ahead of the court's decision on Wednesday

The baby’s parents had blocked the procedure on the grounds that any blood transfused could have come from a donor jabbed with an mRNA vaccine. Pictured: The mother and father of the four month-old baby leave the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday ahead of the court’s decision on Wednesday

But High Court Judge Ian Gault said he accepted the affidavits of health experts who said there have been millions of blood transfusions performed around the world since coronavirus vaccines were introduced, and the vaccines hadn’t caused any known harmful effects. 

‘The overriding issue is whether the proposed treatment is in (the baby’s) best interests,’ the court said in a statement.

The child is now under the medical ‘guardianship of the Court’ until ‘completion of his surgery’ and recovery, by the end of January at the latest.

The parents will remain custodians ‘for all other purposes’, and will be ‘informed at all reasonable times of the nature and progress of Baby W’s condition and treatment’, the ruling stated.

The case has gripped New Zealand and underscored the potency of vaccine misinformation. 

The parents’ legal battle has been embraced by anti-vaccine groups, who gathered outside the courtroom this week as evidence was presented.

The judge said the baby’s parents were loving and wanted the best for their son and accepted that he needed the surgery. The judge said the relationship between the parents and clinicians had suffered and that they should try to improve it before and after the surgery and be respectful of each other.

Court rules prevent the baby and parents from being named. Court documents identified the mother as a midwife.

Anti-vaccination demonstrators supporting mother and father of a four-month-old baby that urgently needs a heart operation demonstrate outside the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday

Anti-vaccination demonstrators supporting mother and father of a four-month-old baby that urgently needs a heart operation demonstrate outside the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday

Anti-vaccination demonstrators supporting mother and father of a four-month-old baby that urgently needs a heart operation demonstrate outside the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday

Health New Zealand spokesperson Mike Shepherd said it was ‘a difficult situation for all involved’.

‘The decision to make an application like this to the court is always made with the best interests of the child in mind.’

The baby is being treated at Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital.

After the verdict, vocal anti-vaccine campaigner Liz Gunn told a small crowd of supporters to pressure Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to somehow reverse the decision.

‘Jacinda, this is at your feet,’ she said, appearing close to tears. ‘Beg them to show some humanity in this country, which we were once so proud of and of which I am now so ashamed.’

Health authorities had rejected the parents’ request for unvaccinated blood, arguing it was impractical and unnecessary.

The family claims to have dozens of non-vaccinated donors lined up.

New Zealand’s blood service does not make a distinction between donations from those vaccinated or unvaccinated against Covid, as there is no extra risk from using vaccinated blood.

It states there is no evidence that using blood from a vaccinated person poses any risk to recipients and that any traces of the Covid-19 vaccine was broken down and would not be transferred to patients.

‘All donated blood also gets filtered during processing, so any trace amounts that may still be present poses no risk to recipients,’ it said.

‘This is a really unusual case where the parents want better treatment for their child than the state is offering,’ Sue Grey, lawyer for the parents, said last month.

‘It’s gone down this path because we have a government and a blood bank… (who) are not willing to make these services available.

‘Not only are they not offering those services, they are saying: ‘We know best what’s good for your baby and we want you to do it our way.”

Heart stenosis is when the heart’s valves do not open properly meaning pressure and blood can build up, reducing blood flow and putting strain on the heart.

According to Healthdirect, one in 4,000 people are born with an aortic valve that is shaped differently which can become hardened or scarred as they get older, therefore increasing their chances of developing heart stenosis.

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