KUALA LUMPUR: Only those who have been bitten by dogs in the localities declared to be affected by rabies will be vaccinated, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic).
This follows the standard operating procedures as set by the ministry said Subramaniam.
He said that the ministry had a stockpile of 8,000 vaccine vials with about 2,000 used already.
He said that about 17,800 animals had been vaccinated as well, many of them being domestic animals.
"If someone has been bitten but they are not in the locality declared, they will not be given the vaccine. The doctor will make the decision. This is based on scientific evidence and the SOPs in the management of these cases," he said at a press conference at the media room in Parliament on Tuesday.
He said there were 20 localities in Sarawak that had been declared to be affected by the rabies outbreak.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), vaccination against rabies is used in two situations — pre-exposure and the prevention of the development of clinical rabies after exposure has occurred, usually following the bite of an animal suspected of having rabies.
Dr Subramaniam said the Government recognised the severity of the outbreak and that there was a possibility of it spreading further, especially in high density areas such as Kuching.
He said the different agencies were working with the Sarawak government to contain the spread of the disease.
The minister also urged the Opposition to work with the Government instead of using the issue to gain political mileage.
Earlier, Julian Tan Kok Ping (DAP - Stampin) was ejected from the Dewan Rakyat by Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee when he insisted that Dr Subramaniam had misled the Dewan while responding to a question.
Dr Subramaniam had been answering a question by Oscar Ling (DAP - Sibu) on the Government's efforts to contain an outbreak of rabies in Serian this month.