Local Islamic teachers preaching vaccination 'forbidden' for Muslims.
The "vaccine denial" common in some Muslim communities has contributed to the deaths of at least six patients, including children, during a measles outbreak in the far South.
Though vaccines are proven to prevent diseases, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) is worried that a measles epidemic is quickly spreading in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat -due to a large proportion of the residents rejecting immunisation for religious reasons.
Yala province alone has experienced nearly 500 measles infections since the sometimes deadly disease began spreading in June, according to the Yala Provincial Public Health Office. So far there have been six deaths in the province, and the infection rate has rapidly risen since September.
The main cause of the mass outbreak of measles in the far South is the large number of Muslims who are refusing to take the vaccine, said Vaccine Preventable Diseases Division director Dr Pornsak Yoocharoen. They have been incorrectly taught that these vaccines are haram, forbidden for Muslims to use or consume. Parents wrongly believe it would be against Islamic teaching to allow their children to be immunised by taking the vaccine.