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Malaysia will vaccinate foreigners: Health Ministry

14 Dec 2019 / 16:48 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will seek the co-operation of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to obtain a supply of vaccines to be given to foreigners.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the move was to enable foreigners in the country to be vaccinated as part of efforts by the government to prevent the proliferation of infectious diseases.

He said the ministry would also seek the co-operation of the government of the Philippines to obtain vaccines, as they could secure a cheaper supply of vaccines.

‘’A Malaysian-Philippine co-operation will be created because we in Malaysia are not given cheap vaccine supplies ... but the Philippines got their vaccines cheaply. We will try to obtain vaccines by using the Philippines, to be given to the foreigners.

‘’The ministry will also co-operate with Unicef to obtain vaccines which are subsidised for the foreigners,’’ he said after opening a conference ‘Be a Heart Hero’ at the Malaysian Heart Foundation by MOH Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today.

Noor Hisham said 20 to 30% of foreigners, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, entered and exited the country without being screened and it is worrying to the ministry if they were not vaccinated.

Last week, the media reported that MOH confirmed a three-month old baby boy from Tuaran, Sabah was infected by the polio virus, namely, the first case after Malaysia was free of the disease for 27 years.

The baby was reported to have fallen sick followed by bodily weaknesses and had been placed in the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital before he was confirmed to have been infected with the vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1) on Dec 6 and, currently, his condition was reported to be stable.

In the meantime, Dr Noor Hisham hoped an awareness existed among parents on the importance of the vaccine injections before the ministry made it mandatory.

‘’We have to encourage and give health education to the parents,’’ he added. - Bernama

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