No plans to make vaccination mandatory: Dr Lee

24 Feb 2019 / 18:50 H.

IPOH: The government has no plans to make vaccination mandatory, as recommended by several parties, according to Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Instead, he said the ministry’s approach was to advise parents to allow their babies to be vaccinated for the sake of the child’s health and safety.

“Parents will use religious issues (to reject the use of vaccines) and this will certainly make it difficult for us to implement mandatory vaccination and we do not want to coerce them into doing so.

“As such, for now we have no plans to make it compulsory even though numerous studies show that the vaccines are effective and safe,” he told reporters after launching an anti-aedes campaign organised by Ipoh Selatan Rotary Club at the Greentown Health Clinic, here today.

So far the vaccination intake rate is 89% as compared to the 95% target.

“There is no problem with vaccination intake for newborns because when the babies are between one and three months old, the vaccines are provided by the government.

“... but when they reach nine months, there are parents who do not want to immunise their children against measles, mumps and rubella with the MMR vaccine,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Lee said the ministry was saddened by the death of the two-year-old boy in Johor Baru on Thursday, believed to be due to diphtheria.

“Diphtheria can be prevented by getting vaccinated but unfortunately a few parents are still influenced by anti-vaccine advocates and they have doubts on the safety of the vaccines in the country,” he said.

Commenting on dengue fever cases, Dr Lee said according to the ministry’s analysis, dengue virus type 2 (DEN-2) has become more distinct as compared to DEN 1 last year, and this could result in an increase in dengue fever cases.

“The change in dengue virus is due to weather changes in particular from Dec to Feb and this period is when the spread of dengue is at its peak,“ he said, adding that the Ministry of Health has stepped up efforts in reducing transmission of dengue by activating the Combi (Communication for Behavioural Impact) programme. — Bernama

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