Free pneumococcal vaccination programme extended to those born between 2018 and 2019, says Dr Zaliha

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is expanding its free pneumococcal vaccination programme to those born between 2018 and 2019.

Its minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa (pic) said the expansion for the programme, starting June 1, was because unvaccinated children aged below five are at risk of invasive pneumococcal disease and exposed to complications.

She said the discharge rates for pneumococcal disease for those under five years old at public hospitals were high.

“The Health Ministry is looking to expand the vaccination programme for pneumococcal for four and five year olds born between Jan 1, 2018, and Dec 31, 2019.

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“The nationwide pneumococcal vaccination programme will start tomorrow (June 1) until May 31, 2024 and it will involve the ministry’s primary healthcare facilities.

“I urge all to parents to carry out their responsibilities to ensure their children are fully immunised against diseases that can be prevented through vaccination,” she said when launching the ‘Catch-up on Pneumococcal Immunisation’ or CHUP on the National Immunisation Day on Wednesday (May 31).

In December 2020, the government included pneumococcal vaccination in the National Immunisation Programme for those who were born in January the same year.

Dr Zaliha said the programme aims to inoculate those who were left out from target demographic when the pneumococcal vaccination were introduced.

She said the ministry is targeting to inoculate 70% or 700,000 of the one million children aged four to five under the two-year programme.

There will be only one pneumococcal vaccine dose administered for the four to five year-olds compared to the three doses given out in stages for babies at four and six months old and 15 months for the third or booster dose.

Dr Zaliha said parents can walk in to their nearest public healthcare facilities such as health clinics or klinik desa.

“For those looking to set an appointment for the vaccination can do so at their MySejahtera application,” she said.

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