Connect with us

South

Islamic anti-vaxxers in the south causing measles outbreak

Thaiger

Published

 on 

image
image

by Pratch Rujivanrom

Anti-vaxxers in Thailand’s deep south are causing widespread discomfort and even death with a current measles outbreak sweeping through the three southern-most provinces. Vaccine denial is common in some Muslim communities and has contributed to the deaths of at least six patients, including children, over the past three months.

Though vaccines are proven to prevent diseases – they’ve been particularly effective in preventing measles – the Department of Disease Control (DDC) is worried that a measles epidemic is quickly spreading in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat – due to a large proportion of the residents rejecting immunisation for their children for religious reasons.

Yala province alone has registered nearly 500 measles infections since the disease began spreading in June, according to the Yala Provincial Public Health Office. So far there have been six deaths in the province, and the infection rate has rapidly risen since September.

“The main cause of the mass outbreak of measles in the far South is the large number of Muslims who are refusing to take the vaccine,” said Vaccine Preventable Diseases Division director Dr Pornsak Yoocharoen.

“They have been incorrectly taught that these vaccines are haram, forbidden for Muslims to use or consume. Parents wrongly believe it would be against Islamic teaching to allow their children to be immunised by taking the vaccine.”

“The high proportion of vaccine denial among the population group has reduced the immunisation coverage down to 30-40 per cent in some areas, which highly increases the risk for mass infections of vaccine preventable diseases in that area,” Pornsak said.

The refusals continue, “even though the Sheikhul Islam Office has already told the Muslim communities in Thailand that the use of vaccines is not against the Islamic teaching”, he said.

Sheikhul Islam Office secretary Sutham Boonmalert directly addressed the issue last week, saying that though some vaccines contain ingredients derived from pigs, which are forbidden for Muslims, it was more important for a good Muslim to remain in good physical health at all times.

Therefore, until alternative vaccines that do not contain haram ingredients are invented, Muslims may use vaccines without having to worry that they are violating the Islamic doctrine, Sutham stated.

Pornsak said the main problem is that many Muslims in the far South remain sceptical about the official clarification and advice from authorities. They are unconvinced and instead believe in the inaccurate teachings of their local Dato (Islamic teacher), who preaches against vaccination.

“We have been trying to promote childhood immunisation in the three Southernmost provinces for many years, but these efforts are not very fruitful,” he said.

“This is because since the southern insurgency was ignited a decade ago, officers have found it harder to work with local communities due to the lack of trust among local Muslims and the insecure situation for the officers.”

Moreover, he said some side-effects of vaccination, which may cause mild fever in children, also caused their parents to fear harm to their children’s health from vaccines.

He estimated that due to the severity of vaccine denial in the far South, the overall vaccine coverage in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat was as low as 50 per cent, well below the medically endorsed rate of over 80 per cent, and too low to create mutual immunity to diseases among the population group.

He added that the lower than average vaccination coverage in the far South also raised the risks for a major outbreak of other vaccine preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, rubella and pertussis.

Measles is a highly infectious disease and can be fatal in children. Vaccinating a child age between nine months and two years old is a proven and effective prevention.

Islamic anti-vaxxers in the south causing measles outbreak | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Thailand's largest online portal for news and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video13 hours ago

The “Dislike: button, Serving alcohol, Thai longtail boats | Thaiger Bites | Ep.75

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

LATEST NEWS: First Omicron case detected in Thailand

Politics15 hours ago

Cambodian PM plans a visit to Myanmar to smooth divisions in ASEAN

advertiseadvertise
Transport16 hours ago

A bird strike may have caused Royal Thai Air Force F-5 fighter jet’s recent crashing

Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Alcohol situation in Pattaya, Thailand Omicron update | Dec 6

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

First Omicron strain reported in Thailand, Test & Go traveller tests positive

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: Still no Omicron, today’s infections drop to 4,000

Crime17 hours ago

Phuket police arrest 32 after more than 3,500 venue raids since November

Video17 hours ago

Dealign with omicron, Opening the southern border, pen15 park | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.146

Politics17 hours ago

US Republican Party senator Bob Dole passes away at 98

Coronavirus Vaccines17 hours ago

Thailand’s Health Ministry misses Covid-19 vaccination target

Tourism18 hours ago

Germany removes Thailand from its list of high-risk countries

Indonesia18 hours ago

Death toll rises to 14 in volcanic eruption in Indonesia

North East19 hours ago

Police deny detaining or threatening woman who told PM to “retire quickly”

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

CCSA meets today to decide on southern border re-opening

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism10 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism10 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending