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Moms unite to question COVID vaccine efficacy, want freedom to choose

Updated on: 19 December,2020 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

Group of mothers against mandatory vaccines speaks out about overt and covert pressure, fears

Moms unite to question COVID vaccine efficacy, want freedom to choose

Moms cautioned against subtle pressures to take the vaccine, even if told it is voluntary. Representation pic

As countries green-light COVID-19 vaccines amid a miasma of mixed information where claims about healing and side effects collide, a group, 'Moms Against Mandatory Vaccines', held a conference at a South Mumbai venue on Friday afternoon.

The group said people need to research and question the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. Representation pic
The group said people need to research and question the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. Representation pic

The focus

The discussion focussed on health freedom and informed medical consent to protect children and kin. Panellists felt they must speak against pressures to take the vaccine, either covert or overt, even as they said, "The BMC was amplifying efforts to promote vaccine uptake and acceptance, and combat so-called 'anti-vaccination' sentiments." Yet, they added, one could not ignore experts voicing concerns about virus safety. Said activist Varsha Vidya Vilas, "This is to caution those in charge that there should be no compulsion when it comes to the vaccine. If there is, then, can they give us a guarantee that there will be no side effects?" Vilas also pointed out that several doctors have voiced apprehensions, "So how can one force citizens?" When it comes to the mom factor, Vilas had a tweak on the BMC's 'My Family, My Responsibility' catchline for the pandemic. "My child, my responsibility' she said emphatically.

Subtle pressure

Nisha Koiri, a naturopath said, "Even though it is said that the vaccine will be a choice, see how masks have been made mandatory. There may be pressure from schools, colleges to take the vaccine for admitting students. We may have a situation in which one cannot open a bank account without being vaccinated."

Koiri, who claimed that "haldi and tulsi were like the two effective Ram baans (arrows)", also said, "As mothers, we are always concerned about what we are giving our children. Why should we believe somebody without researching sufficiently?" For Koiri the key lies in people educating themselves through credible websites like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and having the freedom to make choices.

Two sides

Qualms about schools making vaccines mandatory also resonated with speaker Sapna Chhetija. Taking an overarching look at the world of vaccines, Chhetija said, "It is important that we know there are two sides to a vaccination story. Sometimes, we are shown only one side, which may be profitable to certain corporates. There is the attitude - 'do not question, you are just a patient'. In case of an adverse reaction, you are just a statistic." Chhetija, too, said the antidote is to develop immunity, "and learn and research safety and efficacy of vaccines." Sunita Singh said that she was speaking, "to create awareness worldwide. I say to all mothers to not believe blindly. They should pay attention to all developments for their children's future and to uncover the truth for others."

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