KUALA LUMPUR: It will take time to implement mandatory vaccination for infants and children, because the relevant legislation and regulations have to be amended or re-drafted first.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad explained that the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, would have to be amended while the immunisation regulation would have to be re-drafted.
“Various other factors will also have to be considered before any decision is made,” he added in response to a question from Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching).
Yii wanted more information about the timeline for a decision to be made, in view of an outbreak of diphtheria resulting from an anti-vaccination drive in the country.
Dzulkefly said there were other considerations as well: “There will be certain exemptions, and if there is an adverse reaction, what is the mechanism for compensation? It is also important to get the buy-in from all stakeholders.”
He pointed out that his ministry had already set up a task force to get the views of government agencies, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders on the feasibility of mandatory vaccination.
He said the feasibility study would consider the aspects of enforcement, compensation, penalties and the reporting mechanism for any “adverse events following immunisation” (AEFI).
A working paper on the outcome of the study will then be present to the cabinet.
The minister said various advocation programmes and activities were being carried out to address the issue of anti-vaccinations. There would be media campaigns, and information and facts on vaccination would be provided on the ministry’s website, he added.