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Kyrgyz Anti-Vaxxers Leave Health In God's Hands

A Eurasianet partner post from <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/kyrgyzstan-measles-vaccination-opponents-c…;

All but declared dead a few years ago, measles is back in Kyrgyzstan -- and God is largely to blame.

"We live according to Shari'a law," says Bakhtiar Berdikojoev of Ak-Terek, a village in the northern region of Issyk-Kul. "And in our life God orders happiness and sorrow, celebration, death, and risks."

For the father of five, the risks include foregoing vaccinations for his children. His three oldest have been inoculated against only some diseases, and the youngest two have received no vaccinations whatsoever.

In deciding against inoculations Berdikojoev has joined an antivaccine movement that has spurred controversy in the United States -- where dozens of people contracted measles in an outbreak centered on California's Disneyland amusement park-- and is fueling a major measles outbreak in Kyrgyzstan.

The reasoning of Kyrgyz "anti-vaxxers" bears some similarities to their counterparts' in the United States.

Some, like Berdikojoev, seek "healthier" alternatives. "Our predecessors lived quite well without any vaccinations," he argues. "They used herbal treatments and didn't use any chemicals."

To read the full story

Written by Michael Scollon, based on reporting by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service correspondents Gulaiym Ashakeeva and Baktygul Chynybaeva, with additional reporting by Farangis Najibullah.

A Eurasianet partner post from <a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/kyrgyzstan-measles-vaccination-opponents-c…;

Kyrgyz Anti-Vaxxers Leave Health In God's Hands

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