Somali Leaders Say Imams Can Spread Word on Measles Shots
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - With another three weeks of Ramadan and the holy week's gatherings, religious leaders are stepping up efforts with health care workers to control Minnesota's measles outbreak which has hit the Muslim Somali community the hardest.
Children's Minnesota's Elham Ashkar says imams in their position of power can help spread the word that vaccination is in the best interest of the community. False information suggesting the measles vaccine can cause autism has driven down immunization rates in the Somali community.
Children's Minnesota has given Somali community leaders pictures of some of the children in the hospital suffering from measles, hoping they will provide a powerful incentive to vaccinate.
Minnesota has had more measles cases in the past two months than the entire country had all last year.