Vaccination drive in Kerala under attack by misguided sections of society

Kerela has witnessed an increase in the incidents of threats and violence against health workers involved in vaccination drives or immunization campaigns by the conservative Muslim organizations

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New Delhi: While Shyamala was administering the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine to children at a primary school in Malappuram district of Kerela, she hadn’t in her wildest dreams expected to get beaten up for performing her job. The junior nurse who was a part of vaccination drive was attacked by few miscreants during the state government’s ongoing initiative to reach out to left out sections of society for complete immunization.

The nurse was reportedly attacked at the school in Edayoor panchayat. As per news reports, her attackers who were armed with knives also beat other the health workers and also smashed Ms Shyamala’s cellphone.

The Kerala government had last month extended the campaign deadline as it did not receive the expected results in some districts due to an anti-vaccination campaign.

While such instances are not new in Kerela’s Malappuram district, the same has now spread to other regions. Attacks on members of the medical fraternity have been reported from Kozhikode, Kasaragod, Thalassery and Thrissur.

The attacks have been happening for last few years now as few Muslim organizations had called the vaccines as evil and directed the followers not to immunize their children. The misguided section believes that vaccines are a government propaganda and targeted against their religion.

 Also read: False propaganda makes immunization programmes vulnerable! 

Meanwhile, Kerala’s Health minister K K Shylaja has assured that the attackers will be dealt severely. In a Facebook post, she stated that DGP had been directed to take stern against those responsible for the incident.

Protesting against attacks on doctors and nurses at various places, Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) boycotted attending outpatients in government hospitals.