Kazakh citizens share their opinions on mandatory vaccination
Currently, the issue of vaccination is one of the most discussed topics in Kazakhstan. Opinions of the Kazakh citizens on this issue are divided. Some people support the mandatory vaccination, others either maintain neutrality or oppose vaccinations and sign petitions against them.
More than 170,000 residents signed the ‘Right to refuse’ petition within the last two weeks. They are against the compulsory vaccination. Experts say that the decision of some Kazakh citizens to refuse vaccination was influenced by video clips and messages of the dubious content shared on social media. The author of one of such messages urges people not to open the apartment door to anyone, especially the health workers who came with the police.
“First, they conduct the tests for viral infections and then they would inject a vaccine, which subsequently leads to death. A person dies within six months. Please, do not get vaccinated, otherwise we will all condemn ourselves to death,” the extracts of one of the messages say.
While the public is discussing whether it is worth getting vaccinated or not, the members of the Mazhilis, the Lower House of the Kazakh Parliament, approved on May 13 in the second reading the draft code ‘On public health and health care system’, which provides for the introduction of compulsory vaccination of children. According to the document, some vaccinations will be transferred to the mandatory category.
The Kazakh TV channel reporters contacted some parents in Kazakhstan in order to find out their opinions on the law. According to the survey, the opinions of the respondents were divided again.
“I am a mother of three children. All of them were vaccinated. I read the stories of some mothers who wrote that the vaccine caused harm to the child. As a result, the child received an irreversible damage to health. I personally trust the doctors. If I have any questions about the vaccination, I don’t hesitate to ask them. Of course, we do all the vaccinations. The main thing for vaccines is to be useful,” said Assel Sazabekova, a resident of Nur-Sultan.
“I’ve got four daughters. They began getting vaccinated as soon as they were born. They get immunized every year. We are trying not to miss any mandatory vaccine. I believe that it is better to listen to the recommendations of the professionals,” said Ayagoz Zhamuldinova, a resident of North Kazakhstan region.
“Vaccination is a new way of protection, but it hasn’t been appropriately tested yet, because it takes time to see the effects of the vaccines. We heard that some vaccinated children became disabled. That is why I am absolutely against the vaccination,” adamantly said Alua Issabayeva, a resident of Karagandy.
Experts, in turn, assure that there is absolutely no need to be afraid of vaccines.
“Recently, there were many discussions on social media against the adoption of the Code, which provides for the mandatory vaccination. The cases of refusal of vaccinations due to the religious beliefs became more frequent. For example, last year there was an increase in the incidence of measles, caused by the untimely vaccination of children under the age of one year old. That is why the timely vaccination is the only way to prevent infectious diseases,” said general practitioner Muratbek Zhumadilov.
Kazakh Health Minister Yelzhan Birtanov said that the vaccination in Kazakhstan will not be forced on people. He notes that each vaccine undergoes the multi-stage test for safety, efficacy and quality. The vaccine complies with the international Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.
“Vaccination in Kazakhstan will not become compulsory! As elsewhere in the world, there will be voluntary and mandatory vaccines in our country. In each case, parents have and will continue having the right to agree to or refuse vaccination! There are no rules restricting the rights of unvaccinated children! There is only one norm that ensures the collective immunity and health protection of all children attending kindergartens,” Birtanov said.
The Kazakh Health Minister says that 4.8 million children were vaccinated last year in Kazakhstan. There were more than 6,000 refusals of vaccination.
Meanwhile, each European Union member state has its own childhood vaccinations calendar. For example, in Belgium, polio vaccine is mandatory. Criminal punishment is foreseen for refusal of this mandatory vaccination in the country. In addition, children will not be allowed into kindergartens in case they lack the necessary vaccinations. In France, in addition to the polio vaccine, children must also be immunized against diphtheria and tetanus. Children have to be vaccinated against tuberculosis to be allowed to attend schools. The hepatitis B vaccination is compulsory in Italy. In the Eastern Europe countries, the list of mandatory vaccines is somewhat longer. In Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the immunization against pertussis, rubella, mumps, measles, as well as Haemophilus influenza type B (HIB) and tuberculosis is mandatory.