In his office, Ozbek Azhi Chotonov, head of the Bishkek-based Islamic think tank Source of the Truth, plays a news clip about the hospitalization of a young girl in neighboring Kazakhstan after a bad reaction to a vaccine. For him, the report constitutes Exhibit A as to why vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they are designed to prevent.
“These vaccines contain 10-15 different metals in a single dose. Better to catch a disease and recover than die from some vaccine,” Chotonov said during an interview with EurasiaNet.org.
Such attitudes have played a prominent role in the worst outbreak of measles in the country since independence. The situation is such that Kyrgyzstan, with over 7,000 confirmed cases, now has the highest incidence of measles in the region the United Nations classifies as Europe and Central Asia (ECA).
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Chris Rickleton is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.