A fatwa (decree) in favour of polio, measles, hepatitis, diphtheria, tuberculosis, pertussis and meningitis vaccinations was issued by Maulana Samiul Haq of Jamia Darul Uloom Haqqania Akora Khattak on Monday.
The fatwa says vaccination against these deadly diseases is helpful in their prevention according to research conducted by renowned medical specialists. It adds that the vaccines used against these diseases are in no way harmful.
Samiul Haq emphasised in his fatwa that doubts raised about vaccination are false and ill-founded. He urged parents to vaccinate their children against polio and other deadly diseases.
Mujeebullah Khan, an officer in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister’s Polio Monitoring Cell Communication and Reporting, said he was optimistic about the effects of the fatwa. He claimed in the month of September, a total of 35,521 refusal cases were reported in all the districts of the province. The officer added that 23% of refusals in Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Lakki Marwat and Bannu were reported by religious clerics.
He believes people of the province from different schools of thought support vaccination against the crippling disease.
According to Mujeeb, religious clerics from mosques and leaders of religious political parties can play a critical role in highlighting the importance of the vaccination programme. He added a number of leaders and clerics had already issued fatwas which are very helpful for the entire campaign.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2013.