Worry no more about halal-status of vaccines, Hilmi tells parents

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has urged parents not to worry over the halal status of vaccines administered on their children as all vaccines are guaranteed to be halal, including that for diphtheria.

Health Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the ministry did indeed, conduct checks on the vaccines given, and those containing porcine deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) were not accepted.

According to him, there were parents who refused vaccination for their children due to doubts over its halal status.

"The vaccination provided by the government is all halal, and the National Fatwa Council has also issued a statement on this issue, so parents need to refer to the matter," he told reporters after launching the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund Project in Balik Pulau, Penang today.

Hilmi said this following the death of a two-month-old child who was infected with diphtheria and was found not to have received the vaccination at the family's request.

Hilmi, who is also Balik Pulau MP said people should not trust information obtained from the social media, but instead believe in the advice given by experts.

"So far, in Malaysia, there is only one vaccine which contains porcine DNA, which is the Rotavirus vaccine. The government does not buy the Rotavirus vaccine. It is only available in private clinics to treat severe diarrhoea," he said.

He said each year, the federal government allocated RM120 million to purchase vaccines for 12 types of viruses, adding the vaccines were provided free of charge to all babies until they reached age three.

The ministry also advised parents who had not vaccinated their children to do so immediately to protect them from exposure to the deadly infection.

Meanwhile, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said although no punishment was imposed on parents or guardians who failed to get immunisation for their children, they needed to be aware of the impact it would have on their children, especially those aged below seven.

"Last year, a total of 32 diphtheria-positive cases were reported nationwide, involving seven deaths... what's more worrying is all those deaths were due to the stubbornness of certain people who refused to get their children immunised," he noted.

Dr Noor Hisham was met by reporters at the launch of the People Friendly National Blue Ocean Strategy Fiesta, inaugurated by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam at the Jementah Public Field in Segamat, Johor today.

Also present were Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min.

Dr Noor Hisham said the diphtheria infection could be avoided if children received the 'five-in-one' injection administered at age two, three and five months, with a booster given when they reached 18 months. — Bernama