PETALING JAYA: The Islamic Medical Association Malaysia (Imam) says that vaccinations are a proven method of infection prevention and recognised by millions of Muslim doctors worldwide.
“The lost of lives resulting from a disease that can be prevented with vaccination should be regretted,” its president Prof Datuk Dr Abd Rahim Mohamad said in a statement Wednesday.
He urged muftis and religious leaders to convey the right facts on vaccines and not spread false information, which could lead to false prejudices.
Dr Abd Rahim said those unsure about the importance of vaccines should speak to medical experts to find out the truth.
On Wednesday, it was reported that a two-year-old boy had died of diphtheria in Sungai Petani, and three of his siblings had not received diphtheria vaccinations as well.
Dr Abd Rahim said that the association, which had more than 3,000 Muslim members, took a serious view of the recent cases of diphtheria, which had not appeared in Malaysia for a long time.
Recently, there have been three confirmed and eight suspected diphtheria cases, leading to two deaths, he said.
He said that diphtheria had returned because a small number of parents had refused to adhere to the Health Ministry’s advice to vaccinate children according to a set schedule.
“The refusal was due to the society’s wrong perception about vaccination which they gathered from wrong sources such as social media, which did not have the credibility or knowledge to advise,” he said.
Some had also rejected it based on arguments from a few religious groups that did not have an understanding about the complexities of medicine, he said.
On Wednesday, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had hit out against a Facebook post questioning the veracity of the reported death of a child who had not been vaccinated.
The post allegedly questioned how many children who had been vaccinated had died, and if there was a “vaccine against road accidents”.
Calling it a shameful act, Dr Hisham said the post was irresponsible and deviated from the true teaching of Islam.