czech-health

Wednesday news briefing — Jan. 20, 2016

in Czech News by

Parents may avoid vaccinating children in exceptional cases; Group says there is a third child custody case in Norway; Zaorálek calls for backup plans; Czech Radio getting new director

Parents may avoid vaccinating children in exceptional cases

The Czech Constitutional Court (ÚS) ruled that parents can refuse to have children vaccinated based on freedom of conscience in a broad sense, and not just freedom of religion.

The case involved parents who had been fines for failing to comply with compulsory vaccination.

But the reason has to be more than a mere doubt about the effectiveness of vaccination, according to Judge Ludvík David.

Experience in the family with bad side effects is one possible exception that could lead to a fine being forgiven

The court added it was necessary to balance factors including the strength of belief and the impact on society.

Under current law, falling to vaccinate may be fined up to Kč 10,000.

The parents in this case said they would not vaccinate on account of their conscience and un the child’s best interest. They cited fear autism as a side effect, and that a vaccination would interfere with the child’s natural defenses.

The Health Ministry responded to the ruling by posting a video about the effectiveness of vaccines.

Group says there is a third child custody case in Norway

A third Czech family has had a child taken away by the Child Welfare Service of Norway (Barnevernet), but does not want to be publicly identified, according to a Czech group supporting similar families.

Parliamentary Deputy Jitka Chalánková (TOP 09) gave information on all three cases to President Miloš Zeman on Jan. 19.

The first of the cases involves Eva Michaláková, whose two sons were taken in 2011 and places in foster care. She risks losing her parental rights, but the case is ongoing.

At the end of 2016 the Barnevernet put a nine-month-old baby girl into foster care. The baby has a congenital kidney problem.

Zaorálek calls for backup plans

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek (Social Democrats, ČSSD) said the European Union needs backup plans to protect itself if it can’t improve the protection of the Schengen zone and reduce the number of migrants, today, adding that a shifting of the border line protected by the EU comes into consideration.

He was responding to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s (ČSSD) comment about a secondary border along the southern edge of Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Zaorálek more options have been discussed in Europe but it was important to continue efforts at resolving the conflict in Syria. Turkey and Greece also need to hold up their promises.

Zaorálek also spoke in favor of an EU Border and Coast Guard, but noted there was opposition.

He also said the Czech Republic agrees that deploying European border guards should only occur when the external Schengen border failed.

Patience is running out he said, adding that the EU needs to start showing results in the next couple of months.

He also expressed dissatisfaction with the current operation of hotspots, calling half of them ineffective. The number of migrants has not been reduced, he added.

Czech Radio getting new director

The new general director of Czech Radio (ČRo) as of Jan. 21 will be René Zavoral, the former deputy director for programming and broadcast. He was elected to the six-year term in the second round from five finalists. He replaces Peter Duhan, who resigned last October. Zavoral has been working in radio for 15 years.

He began work on restructuring four years ago, but says there is a lot left to be done. He said be wants to make an ombudsman position to resolve complaints, and he intends to make a six-year plan for finances.

Czech Radio board chairman Petr Šafařík also announced he will be leaving at the end of March, due to workload. His name came up in the hacked e-mails from Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, but he says the e-mails were not authentic.

Czech Radio employs about 1,500 people and has a budget of Kč 2.2 billion.

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