Govt to monitor anti-vaxxer movement, to combat fake news online

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and non-government groups to combat misinformation on vaccination.

This would include taking action against any medical practitioner who uses social media to spread inaccurate information on vaccination, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

However, he added that there was no organised anti-vaccine movement here, with only 1% of Malaysians (or more than 300,000 people) being anti-vaxxers.

“We are aware that there are anti-vaxxers, but they are not organised compared to some countries.

“Besides, only 1% of Malaysians are anti-vaxxers,” he said when answering a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Dr Adam Baba (BN-Tenggara) in Parliament on Wednesday (April 3).

To a question by Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (PH-Jeli), Dr Lee said a decision on whether vaccination for infants and children would be made compulsory would be made known by the end of April.

“The taskforce looking into the issue of making vaccination compulsory will be submit its recommendations later this month,” he said.

Mustapa called on the government to speed up the implementation of the recommendations of the taskforce in light of a recent case where a non-immunised child is believed to have died in Johor Baru after contracting diphtheria.

In February, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad announced the establishment of the taskforce led by the ministry’s Disease Control Division and the Family Health Development Division to address the issue of mandatory immunisation.

Dr Dzulkefly also announced then that the government aimed to amend the law to make two of 12 scheduled vaccinations mandatory.

The two vaccinations are for MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) and diptheria under the National Immunisation Programme.

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