Colombo, Sept 27 (DailyMirror) – As the anti-vax movement is gaining momentum in Sri Lanka especially among the youth, senior medical doctors yesterday expressed caution over unproven herbal medications which were popping up on social media claiming to be immune boosters and a cure for COVID-19, luring the youngsters to take it instead of the vaccines.
Doctors in the frontline told Daily Mirror that some claiming to be ayurvedic practitioners and even some medical doctors were now claiming that their medications could help prevent the COVID19 and act as immune boosters to help an infected patient overcome the virus soon.
However none of the medications had undergone a clinical trial and there was no proof to claim that these medications were a cure for the virus.
These claims were now circulating among the youngsters, especially those aged 20 to 29, and many were falling victim to it. The youngsters preferred these herbal preventive medications rather than taking the COVID-19 vaccinations which had caused a concern for health workers as well as hampered Sri Lanka’s impressive vaccination drive.
Senior doctors have questioned that with these so-called unproven herbal medications, it was surprising that the Health Ministry was still silent over the matter, and not initiating a probe.
No medicine could be promoted as a cure for COVID-19 without undergoing the necessary clinical trials, as in the case of the infamous ‘Dhammika Paniya’ which underwent three clinical trials but failed.
Doctors say it is also surprising as to why a probe is not being initiated against these unproven medicines and the most what is being done presently is that these social media pages, which are promoting these medications as a cure for the virus are being flagged and taken down.
With a very low percentage of vaccinations among the 20-29 age group, the Health Promotion Bureau has now approached singing sensation Yohani who has gained international fame and other influencers to launch a campaign in the coming days, encouraging youth to come forward and take the jabs.
The campaign will kick off on social media as well as electronic media, hoping to bring a change in the vaccination drive by encouraging the youth to take the jabs. Doctors have said till a considerable percentage of the population are not vaccinated, it will be difficult for Sri Lanka to return to normalcy. (Jamila Husain)