IPOH: The Health Ministry will look into the reasons why there is a lower percentage of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination registered in the country, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
The percentage of babies given the MMR vaccine was at 89% last year, which is much lower as compared to the other vaccinations given at birth, and also within the first three months.
“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, that the figures are not satisfactory.
“We need to find out whether it is due to the anti-vaccine movement, or it is just due to logistics issues.
“Probably there are incidences of parents who become complacent when their child grows up, and think that their baby is healthy, at no risk, and thus there is no need for that particular vaccine,” he said at a press conference yesterday after chairing a dialogue session on rabies with state government agencies, and non-governmental organisations at the state health department here.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had said that following a discussion in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a task force would be set up to look into a proposal to make vaccine immunisation compulsory in the country.
Dr Lee said parents who rejected vaccination for their children would be referred to specialists’ doctors at health clinics, who would then explain the importance of vaccinating their child.
“The vaccines used are safe and effective, and we also know that the Religious Department has also given the green light for vaccination.
“So we encourage that 100% of children are vaccinated, except those with specific health problems,” he added.