Bishkek – More than 17,000 Kyrgyzstanis have refused scheduled child vaccinations in the first nine months of 2023, as reported by Gulbara Ishenapysova, Director of the Republican Center for Immunoprophylaxis.
According to 24.kg News Agency, Ishenapysova attributed the refusals to religious beliefs and doubts about vaccine safety and quality.
The Ministry of Health has been actively conducting explanatory work among the population, including through social media and in collaboration with the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of the Kyrgyz Republic. This partnership resulted in a resolution adopted in 2019 to address vaccine hesitancy. Official registration of vaccine refusals in Kyrgyzstan began in 2016, with previously recorded numbers up to 8,000 per year. The increase in refusals is partly due to the introduction of an electronic registration system. Ishenapysova emphasized the importance of achieving over 95 percent coverage for preventive vaccinations. However, measles vaccination coverage has decreased to 88 percent, a decline influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a resurgence of measles in disadvantaged areas.