KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is mulling to make vaccination for newborns compulsory, following the return of preventable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB).
Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, said the government is considering the move due to the increasing number of parents rejecting immunisation and the spread of TB among foreign workers in Malaysia.
"In general, vaccines can prevent diseases such as TB, which is making a comeback, particularly because lately there are some vaccine hesitant groups.
It is critical that we look into this.
"Although it is not compulsory, we are considering if we should finally make the National Immunisation Programme compulsory," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Johari Abdul (PH-Sungai Petani) during Question Time.
Johari had asked the Ministry if the BCG injections, which were given to prevent TB, will be made compulsory for all newborns.
The Health Minister also welcomed proposals to conduct surprise spot checks or scheduled inspections at constructions sites that employs foreign workers.
To the initial question, Dr Dzulkefly said that the Ministry will conduct health screening to ensure all foreign workers that enter the country were healthy and to prevent any infectious diseases.
"Since 2006, health screening is made a month before their arrival to Malaysia," he said.
He added that certain communicable diseases such as TB and HIV have an incubation period, and that the Foreign Workers' Medical Examination (Fomema) checks might have missed some of the infected foreign workers, as their results turn out to be a false negative.
"Employers whose foreign workers who have been identified as not suitable for working after failing their necessary health checks are required to send them back home," he said.