| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

Houthis’ ban of vaccines angers Yemenis

Yemeni areas under the Houthi militia’s control have received no vaccines, angering Yemen’s health and government circles, especially after the militia leaders portrayed inoculation as an “international conspiracy” targeting the population.

The Yemeni health community feared the coup’s hostile approach to immunization campaigns would lead to widespread epidemics, especially among children.

The government denounced the “reckless” behavior, warning that the militias’ myths threatened the children’s future.

The Health Ministry in the legitimate government warned that such myths were a risk to the future of Yemen’s children in areas under the militias’ control despite the whole world’s agreement on evidence-based medicine.

The Ministry stated that it must promote correct and accurate health information, asserting that preventive work, namely vaccines, was the best way to confront diseases and epidemics.

It pointed out that many diseases, such as smallpox, were eradicated because of the vaccines, which led to a polio-free Yemen in 2009. However, the disease reemerged in 2019 in Saada due to the militias’ behavior.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representatives sent a joint letter to the Ministry of Health in September 2020, expressing concerns over the “vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in Yemen are consequences of increasingly low levels of immunity among children.”

The organizations explained that the cases in Yemen were clustered in Saadah, an area with very low routine immunization levels and inaccessible to the polio program for more than two years.

The government noted that the international concerns came after the emergence of many polio cases in the governorate.

The Health Ministry discussed these concerns with various regional, Arab, and international parties. It demanded serious steps to pressure the coup militia to contain the situation as it threatens millions of children in Yemen and the regional countries.

It renewed its call for the regional and international community to prevent this negative culture against science and health, urging action to ensure the disastrous behavior does not spread.

Recently, a Houthi organization that partners with UN agencies and operates in Houthi militia-controlled areas held an event to warn against vaccines.

It claimed that modern medicine, including vaccines and chemical medicine, was a Jewish idea aimed at investment, trade, and aggressive targeting of people.

They also claimed that vaccines had no scientific basis and that enhancing immunity and maintaining health was done by following the instructions of the group’s leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.

The Houthi militia had previously announced an increase in the number of cases and deaths in the areas under its control due to epidemics.

The medical community warned of a broader outbreak in light of the Houthis’ negligence and corruption.

Members of the Houthi parliament attacked the militia leaders in charge of the health sector, accusing them of being complacent.

They claimed the health officials did not carry out their duties in monitoring the spread of these epidemics and providing the so-called precautionary measures and vaccinations according to the approved immunization programs.


  • Asharq Al-Awsat