Czech Republic temporarily bans children from immunization

On Saturday, the Czech Republic’s Court of Audit (COVID) limited child access to vaccinations in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. COVID, a group appointed by the Government of the Czech Republic to examine, revise and publish information on the cost, benefits and side effects of key public policies, found that the vaccinations violated the country’s laws regarding epidemiology. According to Health Ministry records, there were fewer than 30 children in the country who were deemed unfit for vaccination due to previous medical treatment such as infections, tumor removal or depression. In total, COVID eliminated the right of unvaccinated children to access any vaccines until further COVID and the General Planning Office for Humanitarian Health programs deem them safe.

“We have no choice,” a parent in Praha, a city in the Czech Republic, told ČTK. “I tried to explain the law, but they won’t listen.”

UNICEF has warned that the COVID ban on vaccination is already raising a level of distrust. In a press release, UNICEF Eastern Europe and Central Asia Section Head Pascal Ferrari said, “For parents with students in their care, the fact that they cannot vaccinate will lead to outbreaks of childhood diseases.” “UNICEF is ready to help implement emergency measures, if necessary, to protect children from diseases that could have been prevented if vaccinations had been available to all children.”

Sunday, the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Health responded to COVID’s ban on vaccinations by releasing a statement and warning of the potential health effects of the immunization restriction. “So far the claims of COVID have been substantiated, but this should be in no way encouraged to breach the parents’ rights to refuse vaccination in principle,” the statement read. “That could lead to a country of contagious diseases similar to Germany.”

Critics, such as policy analyst Zdenek Olcok, have alleged that the COVID report’s conclusions stem from sectarian reasons. During protests in Prague, members of anti-immigrant group Open Movement held signs emblazoned with “No To Drugs.” “If a particular form of vaccine is not allowed, it’s imposed on us, and not granted for the good of our health,” one protester told ČTK. “It’s just for the sake of convenient coercion.”

Along with the decision to restrict vaccination rights, COVID has also attempted to link vaccinations to health-care costs. As the second-largest pharma firm in the Czech Republic, Allianz holds 11.7 percent of the pharmaceutical market. In December of 2018, COVID released a statement that Allianz’s “high prices” were contributing to an approximately 350 percent rise in the prescription price of the vaccine Marburg B-Strain. Allianz has denied the charges and recently responded to COVID’s recommendations by calling COVID “a total disservice to our economy, public finances and consumer protection.”

Read the full story at ČTK.


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