IPOH: The Health Ministry will intensify its efforts in identifying the reasons for the lower percentage of parents not vaccinating their babies for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the percentage of babies given the MMR vaccine was at 89% last year, compared to the other vaccinations given at birth.
“For the other vaccines, the percentage is over 98%, but it is the MMR vaccine which is given when a child is nine months old, and that figure is not satisfactory.
“We need to find out whether it is due to the anti-vaccine movement, or it is just due to logistic issues.
“Probably, there are incidences of parents who become complacent when their child grows up, and think that their baby is healthy and at no risk, and thus there is no need for that particular vaccine,” he told a press conference after chairing a dialogue session on rabies with state government agencies and non-governmental organisations at the state health department here.
Dr Lee said a taskforce set up to study proposals and calls to make vaccination compulsory would look into this matter.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had said following a discussion in Cabinet on Wednesday (Feb 27) that a taskforce was set to come up with a working paper on the ministry's stand on the proposal to make vaccine immunisation compulsory in the country.
Dr Lee said parents who did not vaccinate their children would be referred to specialist doctors at health clinics, who would then explain to them the importance of vaccinating their children.