Kozhikode: Following reports of 10 diphtheria cases in Malappuram, including two deaths, Jamaat-e-Islami has watered down its position on vaccination. The change in the stand holds significance as anti-vaccination campaign gathered momentum using religious symbols and many of their cadres were active in resisting immunisation. The move of the JI came after its medical wing, Ethical Medical Forum (EMF), started batting for vaccination.
“There is no point in giving religious tone to the issue. We have not taken any stand for and against vaccination. But as EMF came forward, we would support them. But it doesn’t mean that anti-vaccination cadre would be sacked,” said its assistant Ameer, Sheikh Muhammad Karakunnu. The politico-religious outfit said it would join if religious organisations form a common platform to push vaccination.
Resistance to immunisation is visible in Muslim pockets of Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur districts and in few areas where anti-immunisation homeo practitioners and naturopaths have a hold. One of the false propaganda spread by the anti-immunisation lobby was that immunisation programmes are a conspiracy to control Muslim population.
“Three causes are behind the resistance. The anti-immunisation lobby which unleashes vigorous campaign sans any scientific base, religious organisations which fell to them and the vernacular media which gave space for them,” said Dr Mohammad Ismail, paediatrician and state president of EMF. He admitted that health workers are facing resistance from religious cadres at the local level including that of the Jamaat....