By Alief Esmail
The recent rise of the anti-vaxxers movement – rejecting vaccination based on unproven claims in Malaysia – has spread to many, even those who have and will be going to Mecca and Medina for their pilgrimages.
A report by The Straits Times has stated that despite vaccination being a compulsory requirement for pilgrimage, some have admitted to forging their vaccination forms to state that they have taken their jabs for infectious diseases so that they can gain entry into Saudi Arabia.
Compared to the grave dangers they are putting other people in, that fine is super low!
As quoted by Malay Mail, an individual by the name of Muhammad Quddus said,
“My family and I performed our umrah two years ago without getting the meningococcal vaccine. The travel agency took care of it for us by getting a doctor to put his signature down in our health record book.”
Yes, a doctor is in on this too!
He also explained that the travel agency will cater to those who refuse to get immunisation jabs before going to the holy cities.
Another Malaysian, Maimunah Ishak, 45, revealed that she used a middle man in order to falsify her health forms. She said,
“The problem was getting someone to sign our vaccination booklet. After months of looking around, we finally found an ustaz who runs a travel agency who was willing to do it for us, but we had to pay RM500 each.”
The worst part of this trend is that these Malaysians will be potentially exposed to a lot of infectious diseases as they move in a densely populated area during their pilgrimage. They will then carry these diseases back home and infect the people around them.
An unnamed senior official also explained that the authorities are actually aware of such heinous acts. He said,
“We are aware that such arrangements involving willing medical practitioners exist, but how it’s really done we don’t know.”
Whether we like it or not, the anti-vaccination movement in our country has spread rapidly recently. This baseless movement will put each and every one of us at risk of contracting dangerous diseases. What we can do is try our very best to share proven facts and stop giving attention to people who are spreading this dangerous belief.