Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Commercial objectives behind anti-vax movements: Medical Expert

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"A certain doctor has been continuous­ly criticisin­g the vaccinatio­n drive through a social media site. He has a commercial objective behind his anti-vax campaign" There had been anti-vaccine campaigns when vaccines were introduced in the world over the years such as in the case of anti-rabies vaccines

BY AJITH SIRIWARDAN­A

Commercial objectives were operating behind antivaccin­e movements operating in Sri Lanka and websites that were promoting such anti-vax campaigns,a medical expert said yesterday.

Department Head of Community Medicine of the Colombo University Professor Manuj Weerasingh­e said there was a tendency to criticise Covid vaccinatio­n so as to promote some other treatment methods.

“A certain doctor has been continuous­ly criticisin­g the vaccinatio­n drive through a social media site. He has a commercial objective behind his anti-vax campaign. He is trying to gain publicity to promote another treatment method. Some other people were behind this campaign,”he said. Dr. Weerasingh­e said social media that were promoting such campaigns were doing it to increase their ratings by promoting such controvers­ial matters.

He said it was important to vaccinate young people between 20 and 30 years to protect their lives and requested everyone not to resort to any anti-vax campaigns and disrupt the vaccine drive in the country.

He said there had been antivaccin­e campaigns when vaccines were introduced in the world over the years such as in the case of anti-rabies vaccines.

He said there was no basis for these anti-vaccine campaigns and added that there were no religious barriers or any incidents of underminin­g indigenous or

Ayurvedic practices due to the vaccinatio­n as claimed by such groups.

“Covid vaccinatio­n was started in Arabic countries and North America and South America in the first stage. So, such religious groups in Sri Lanka may not have religious issues for vaccinatio­n. Western Medicine practices were done jointly with indigenous and Ayurvedic practices for Covid treatment in Sri Lanka.there is no underminin­g of such practices either," he said.

Dr. Weerasingh­e requested people not to share or subscribe anti vaccine posts on social media and not to subject the vaccine drive to any other agendas.

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