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In Malaysia, parents urged not to fall for religious argument by anti-vaccine groups

| 01 February, 2019
In Malaysia, parents urged not to fall for religious argument by anti-vaccine groups
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Baby getting vaccinated. GETTY/Karl Tapales

February 1, 2019 @ 6:03pm | KUALA LUMPUR

Religious argument used by non-medical professional groups as well as vendors of alternative products on the harm of vaccines could be the reason why some parents rejected vaccinations for their children.

Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman of the Medical Microbiology and Parasitology Department in Universiti Putra Malaysia said parents, who were taken in by the groups, had only complicated the government’s task in handling the rising number of vaccine resistance cases every year.

“Many parents were duped by anti-vaccine arguments since these groups do not have any medical background.

“They acquire information from abroad or locally and interpreted it wrongly, making people think that vaccines could bring harm.

“This included the argument used by those pushing for alternative vaccines, although the truth is that they are more interested in making profits.

“We should learn from a case that happened in a neighbouring country, which found a syndicate selling fake vaccines,” she said when contacted by Bernama here today.

She was commenting on the statement by 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

Copyright New Straits Times