KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 25 – Public misconception arising from obtaining unsubstantiated information from open sources such as social networking sites is the reason why some parents refuse to vaccinate their children. A senior doctor from Penawar Medical Group, Dr Zubaidi Ahmad said several articles related to anti-vaccine often used unreliable sources who were not experts in the field.
“There are also blogs or websites claiming to be from certain organisations or reliable sources but in actual fact, they are not trustworthy. In addition, those disseminating the information use pseudonyms to conceal their identities,” he told to the reporters here.
According to Dr Zubaidi, there are two groups of people who refuse vaccines. Firstly, those too busy to send their children for the vaccination; and the other group comprises those who have been misinformed and adamant not to allow their children to be vaccinated.
He said that the first group can be persuaded to go to a clinic or medical centre but it is not easy to tackle the second group as they have been brainwashed. Dr Zubaidi said vaccines were introduced to protect and prevent people from getting infected with certain dangerous diseases.
He said several studies have shown that if infectious diseases are not controlled, they will spread widely and quickly, resulting in deaths of thousands of people. Yesterday, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah advised parents to ensure their children received the complete 5-in-1 antigen vaccines to protect them from various diseases.
This followed two deaths suspected to be due to diphtheria infection, with one case in Melaka last Saturday, and the other in Kedah, yesterday morning. According to Noor Hisham, in both cases the victims did not receive the complete diphtheria immunisatiion and died due to infection-related complications.
Meanwhile, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia president, Datuk Dr Abd Rahim Mohamad said adopting a stand to refuse the vaccine came about after they heard arguments from religious groups who were not experts in medical sciences. He said the public should be aware that vaccines were preventive measures recognised and practised by thousands of Muslim doctors who were experts, reliable and trustworthy the world over.
He in the statement here said it is shallow thinking to consider this group of professionals is influenced by conspiracies of the enemies of Islam or that they are unaware of the halal or haram status of the vaccines when they give them to their patients. As such, Dr Abd Rahim urged religious groups to present the true facts on vaccines and avoid making misleading statements.
“The people are also advised to seek advice from experts in the field, instead of pursuing their self-interest without thinking of the welfare of their family members.” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, in his blog NajibRazak.com said the Health Ministry’s National Children’s Immunisation Programme, introduced over 50 years ago, had provided free immunisation based on Islamic law on the concept of preservation of life.
The immunisation programme, he said, had helped to contain various types of communicable diseases but these efforts would be futile if there were people spreading news and rumours casting doubts on vaccination or immunisation. Meanwile, a parent, Marizal Abdul Manan, 29, said he made sure his children were vaccinated because various new diseases were emerging these days.
“I’m worried as the world has evolved, so diseases too have developed and we are susceptible to them…vaccines are administered as prevention. In Western countries, parents are willing to spend money to buy vaccines, whereas in our country, the vaccines are supplied free by the government,” he said. — Bernama