KLANG: Seven critical issues that are interlinked have to be addressed before it can be decided whether to make it compulsory for children to be vaccinated, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said a task force to look into the matter had made a presentation to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“I am now waiting for him to present the findings to me before I present it at the Cabinet meeting,’’ he said after a working visit to Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah here yesterday.
He did not give details on the critical issues involved and added that the decision whether or not to make vaccination compulsory was a work in progress.
“But the important matter is to ensure that our children are safe and won’t get infected due to others not getting immunised,’’ said Dr Dzulkefly.
There has been a growing anti-vaccination movement taking root in the country, with some parents forgoing vaccinations that were meant to prevent their children from contracting various types of communicable diseases.
To a question of medical professionals involved in the anti-vaccination movement, Dr Dzulkefly said the right to take action against these doctors was under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Medical Council.
He said the public could also lodge complaints against doctors propagating anti-vaccination sentiments and the ministry was monitoring anti-vaccination campaigns.
“Every time they (anti-vaccination campaigners) have events, we want to be there as well. And if possible, we want to be on stage with them.
“We have never feared to engage and we never engage out of fear,’’ he said, adding that he would personally continue to engage anti-vaccination lobbyists.
“They have the right to say their piece, but similarly they cannot be saying their piece on a one-way basis.
“They must engage us and let us hold dialogues,’’ he added.
On another matter, Dr Dzulkefly said he would hold a dialogue with doctors and the Malaysian Medical Association leadership regarding remuneration for general practitioners.
He was responding to a question regarding the unhappiness expressed by general practitioners working in private clinics regarding a recent proposed hike in salary that only covers their counterparts in the government service.
He said the meeting would be held next month.