KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of university students have criticized the government for making mandatory vaccination and called the move a violation of human rights.
Last week, the government announced that educational institutes would be reopened on August 7 after administration of coronavirus vaccine to students.
A day earlier, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) announced that the coronavirus vaccination was mandatory for students and no student would be allowed to enter any educational institute in absence of vaccine card.
University students were happy about the reopening of universities but called mandatory vaccination against the law and violation of human rights.
Mandatory vaccination program is questionable: Students
Samira, a literature student in Kabul University, talking to Pajhwok Afghan News said, “I am very happy that our lessons have begun, but we are worried the vaccine is mandatory, it is questionable for us, why?” She said that some people may be sensitive to the vaccine and it may be deadly to some others.
“My father’s uncle lives in the US, he contacted us and told us that Johnson vaccine has been stopped in America due to its low quality; but I do not know, is Afghanistan a laboratory for Americans,” she argued.
Samira asked the government to stop mandatory vaccination and respect to the rights of humans.
Meanwhile, Kabul University Students Union also launched an online campaign under the hashtag ‘We do not want mandatory vaccination’.
DaryarKhroshan, a Facebook user in a post said, “Why you force students to take vaccine! It is against the law, some people do not want the vaccine, so you do not have the right to force someone to take the vaccine.”
SalehTalash, a Kabul University student in a Facebook post said, “I do not want to be vaccinated, because they made it mandatory, they doubt this vaccine, there is something fishy about it.”
MursalBadakhsh, another Facebook user in a post titled, ‘Corona vaccine is a new project of colonialism’.
“Wake up, this project (coronavirus vaccine) is for your destruction. They killed your fathers, neighbors and countrymen, now they kill those who survived with the vaccine,” she said.
Now the ‘slave’ Ministry of Public Health announced to make vaccination mandatory on all workers, particularly students who are under the age of 18, she said.
“Life is your right. The death is in the hand of God. You and your family members would definitely survive coronavirus. Antibodies made in your body are the strongest vaccine which is enough. There is no need to use artificial vaccine. The level of death was very low among youths or it was almost zero, so do not worry,” she said.
Meanwhile, NizamShamsi, another Facebook user reported that a university student died after taking coronavirus vaccine.
“Mohammad Aziz who was the fourth-year student in Polytechnic University died due to taking Johnson vaccine,” he said.
Some domestic and international media outlets earlier reported that Johnson vaccine causes mental problems for people after six weeks of its administration.
This comes as the US recently assisted three million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine to Afghanistan and its administration begun from last Saturday to people including teachers and lecturers of universities.
No official or person has the right to enforce vaccine on students: Health experts
Dr. HakimullahSaleh, a mental health expert, told Pajhwok Afghan News that despite vaccination was important, but it should be the choice of people as it was the right of citizens.
“No any individual and official has the right to enforce coronavirus vaccine on others,” he said.
He said that aside from the benefits of coronavirus vaccine, it also had side effects.
About the reports on death of a student of people after getting vaccinated, Saleh said that MoPH should investigate the case to reveal the reason of the death.
He said that coronavirus vaccine was very important for students as it improved the immune system against the virus and prevents its spread. However, he said that taking it was the choice of people.
For prevention of coronavirus spread, it is better for students to follow all health guidelines such as social distance, using mask and washing hands with soap, he added.
Saleh termed MoHE decision as good, but said that no one had the right to make the vaccination mandatory.
Hamid Obaidi, spokesman of MoPH, confirmed the death of a university student and said that the student did not take the vaccine in the university and the cause of the death was unknown.
About reports on the side effects of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, he said that the vaccine did not cause mental issues and no other health issues that would be caused by the vaccine registered so far.
Administration of the vaccine practically started in all educational institutes he said. “The vaccine which is administered to students, lecturers and workers is verified by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health, no any side effects caused by the vaccine,” he added.
He said that administration of the vaccine would help keep universities open in the future phases of coronavirus. Obaidi asked students to refer to their universities and take the vaccine.
MoPH seputy spokesman Osman Taheri about serious side effects of coronavirus vaccine said that Johnson and Johnson vaccine did not cause any negative effects on people. He said that people’s interest in vaccination has increased compared to the past.
All vaccines which are verified by WHO are safe and implementable without any issues, he added.
He said that 12 million people had so far taken Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the US and there were only limited cases of mental disorders.
“If only one person in hundreds of thousands of people get mental disorders it is not worrisome, because the problem gets away in short time,” he said.
Taheri said that Johnson and Johnson vaccine also caused some mental disorders but they should not be focused as the efficiency of the vaccine was higher than its side effects. He said that students gather in a room and that was the reason vaccine was important for them.
However, none of the two officials provided a clear response about the students’ request for suspending mandatory vaccination.
ZabihullahFarhang, spokesman of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) about the students protest said, “There are more important issues going on in our country right now, we cannot say anything about this issue at the moment.”
Earlier some Facebook users and doctors also termed the vaccine dangerous and say that the vaccine can damage a person’s health and even cause death. However, MoPH rejected them as rumors and said that the vaccine had no any side effects.
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