By Tuwaedaniya Meringing
PATTANI (Thailand), Nov 17 (NNN-Bernama) — The spread of false news or inaccurate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the reasons for its low uptake in Muslim-majority Pattani, southern Thailand.
Pattani Governor Niphan Boonluang said the target is to vaccinate 10,000 individuals daily, but only about 1,300 people turned up.
“The spread of false news or inaccurate information related to the COVID-19 vaccine is the cause of many locals being affected and refusing to get the vaccine,” he told reporters here Tuesday.
Apart from the spread of false news related to vaccines on social media, Niphan said local authorities also found that there were a handful of irresponsible ‘imams’ and ‘bilals’ (both ‘imams’ and ‘bilals’ are the people who leads prayers in a mosque) who delivered anti-vaccine sermons.
He said, his party also introduced various initiatives, including house-to-house visits as well as the provision of a mobile vaccination unit to encourage the public to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, head of Pattani district’s health office, Dr Anurak Sarapap, said religious leaders and the management of mosques and ‘suraus’ (an Islamic assembly building used for worship and religious) instruction also played their part in encouraging the public, especially Muslims, to get vaccinated – by including COVID-19-vaccine-related topics in their sermons.
“Today, more than 85 per cent of the 776 mosques and ‘suraus’ in Pattani conduct vaccination campaigns. We want to give understanding to the public, especially Muslims, on the issue of taking the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
Meanwhile, the officer of Pattani’s Mayo District, Razali Yadaha, said the list of names of imams, bilals and mosque committee members who refused to get the vaccine will be submitted to the Pattani Islamic Council for further action.
Pattani is one of the provinces in southern Thailand which still has high number of COVID-19 cases. In the past 24 hours, Pattani recorded 323 cases.
To date, Thailand has recorded 2,030,700 COVID-19 cases and 20,143 deaths.