KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — Religious argument used by non-medical professional groups as well as vendors of alternative products on the harm of vaccine is the primary reason why parents reject vaccine for the health of their children, said a public health expert.
Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman of the Medical Microbiology and Parasitology Department in Universiti Putra Malaysia said, parents who were taken in by both groups had only complicated the task of the government in handling the rising number of vaccine resistance cases every year.
“Many of the parents were duped by anti-vaccine arguments of these educated groups who do not have medical background, in fact they acquire various background information from abroad or locally causing critical facts relating to the issues of medicine being wrongly interpreted (from research data and inference) which made the people to think that vaccines may bring harm.
“This included the argument used by the group popularising alternative vaccines in the market and it can not be denied that they are more interested in making profits in the name of health. We should learn from the case of a neighbouring country which found a syndicate selling fake vaccines,” she said when contacted by Bernama here today.
She was commenting on the statement of Heath director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on the existence of groups and individuals who used various platforms including social media to disseminate fake news on the dangers of vaccines to the people as reported in a local English daily recently.
Dr Malina added the anti-vaccine groups also tend to use religious argument, that the use of such substances was not halal when the issue had long been addressed using cell engineering technics to produce vaccines without involving animals forbidden in Islam.
“They also claimed a large portion of the substances used in vaccines are toxic and are from animals forbidden by Islam without any strong research evidence.
“Vaccines are produced through stringent processes on its dosage and side effects. Clinical tests are also conducted involving thousands of respondents from various geographical areas and they have been proven to produce anti-bodies necessary to fight against dangerous diseases,” she said.
She added that the approach to medicine for Muslims should be in accordance with established religious rules, which included the importance of life, where the use of vaccine is proven to be able to fight dangerous diseases such as measles, pertussis and tetanus. — Bernama