In a recent move, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) directed the Health Department Secretary to take legal action against those who campaign against vaccination and other immunisation programmes. The KeSCPCR bench consisted of chairperson Shoba Koshy and members K. Nazeer and Glory George. The bench directed the secretary to strengthen preventive measures in the regions affected with Diphtheria. It also said that lack of staff to carry out immunisation or financial issues should not be factors in this issue. Without proper data and proven facts, those who indulge in anti-immunisation/vaccination campaigns will be charged under non-bailable criminal cases.
The direction from KeSCPCR comes in the background of increased diphtheria cases reported in the districts of Malappuram and Kozhikode. There has been a decrease in the number of immunisation programmes in Kasaragod and Malappuram.
Over the last few weeks, there have been media reports highlighting the fact that people are being misguided by particular groups for their benefit. The Kochi Post had also pointed this out in its earlier story on the issue. According to Dr. Shibu Lal, Deputy DMO of Malappuram, fake doctors, who do not even hold proper certificates or qualifications, are making people believe that vaccinations are a waste and should be rejected.