Dr Shimna Azeez, a medical officer at Manjeri Medical College in Malappuram, stood before hundreds of parents at a school in the district in the first week of November.
Although the school was a new place for her, Dr Shimna was doing something she had done many times - provide awareness on the importance of Measles-Rubella vaccination.
After an hour’s class where she provided information and dispelled myths around vaccination, she was met with a strange challenge. The father of a child, who was seated in the audience, suddenly stood up and challenged Dr Shimna to take the injection herself. And she did.
"There were close to 300 parents who were listening to my class. This school was located in an area where there was high resistance to vaccination. The discussion was going smoothly for about an hour and a half, where parents were voicing their concerns. “
"He challenged me saying that I am asking them to get their children vaccinated, without taking the Rubella vaccine myself. And there, I took the injection. While that one gesture was enough to convince several hundred parents to get their children vaccinated, that one parent did not budge," Dr Shimna remembers.
“Anti vaccination campaign is on the rise and we have to try very hard to convince these people, they would trust their neighbour more than they trust science.”
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