A FIVE-year-old boy will have to be given vaccine booster injections following a High Court dispute between his estranged mother and father over whether he should have the shots.
Mr Justice Michael Moriarty ruled the boy should have the vaccinations but put a month-long stay on his order in case the mother brings an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The estranged parents, who were not married, had gone to court in a row over whether their child should have his MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and the 4-in-1 booster shots.
The mother wanted the judge to quash a Circuit Court order last year that the boy be given the vaccinations under the HSE school immunisation scheme.
The District Court and Circuit Court ruled the inoculations should proceed, as the father wished. When the child was born, he was immunised and no adverse reactions were reported. Last year, the child was due to receive the two injections but a dispute arose between the parents.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Moriarty ruled the HSE in the boy's locality be notified of the court's decision but he allowed a 28-day stay on the operation of the order in case there is an appeal.
The judge did not accept that a hierarchy of authority could exist in cases where unmarried guardians have disagreements as to the medical treatment for their children.
Mr Justice Moriarty said the Circuit Court judge was left in the unenviable position of exercising a power conferred by the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 to make orders in the best interests of the child.
"There was no other way of rectifying the impasse," Mr Justice Moriarty said, and he added that the Circuit Court judge had allowed for a generous and reasonable amount of time for both sides to make their case.