We have seen this before. In Britain, the head of the Islamic Medical Association told parents that vaccines were haram. In Nigeria, jihadis struck a vaccine warehouse, and paranoia about vaccines being a U.S. plot to sterilize Muslims led to a polio outbreak. “Religious beliefs hinder vaccination in E. Java,” by Elly Burhaini Faizal for The Jakarta Post, October 15:
The government has blamed parents” reluctance to get their children vaccinated for the recent diphtheria outbreak in East Java, with many religious communities in the province still questioning whether the anti diphtheritic vaccine is halal, or allowed according to Islam.
Edi Purwinarto, assistant for people’s welfare affairs at the East Java provincial administration, said on Friday that local communities living in some small areas in the province were still somewhat reluctant to give their newborns a complete basic vaccination.
“Some parents resist getting their children vaccinated due to a number of reasons. Some of them are just worried that vaccination will hurt their children or cause a fever but in some areas people worry that the vaccines are not halal,” Edi told The Jakarta Post.
East Java Governor Soekarwo declared an extraordinary situation (KLB) on Sunday for diphtheria in all parts of the province. The provincial administration said that as of Oct. 14, diphtheria incidents had reached 352 cases with 11 deaths, not 328 deaths as reported earlier by several media outlets.
Diphtheria is a deadly upper respiratory-tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, it can be prevented by administering DPT vaccination to newborns.
Mass diphtheria vaccination is being carried out in several outbreak regions, especially in 11 regencies and municipalities; Bangkalan, Banyuwangi, Blitar, Gresik, Mojokerto, Pamekasan, Pasuruan, Sampang, Sidoarjo, Sumenep and Surabaya. Together with religious leaders, Edi said, the local government was working to change existing perceptions and attitudes toward vaccines.
“It’s not easy to overcome parental resistance to immunization since it is closely related to religious perceptions. Therefore, we work with religious organizations to teach parents about the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” said Edi mentioning Muslimat NU and Aisyiyah of Muhammadiyah as the government’s counterparts in the dialog….