IPOH, March 1 — Parents tend to underestimate the importance for their babies to get the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) when the babies show a satisfactory level of health and development, according to Dr Lee Boon Chye.

The Deputy Health Minister said the MMR vaccine included in the national immunisation schedule should be given to babies when they were nine months old.

He said the immunisation of babies during the first three months of their lives, including with the BCG and Hepatitis B vaccines, currently stood at 98 per cent.

“The only problem we have is regarding the MMR vaccination, as only 89 per cent of babies were vaccinated in 2018.

“Maybe the parents felt that their babies were growing up well and healthy, and that made them forgot the importance of the vaccine,” he told reporters after chairing a dialogue on rabies with the relevant non-governmental organisations, Perak Veterinary Services Department, and Ipoh City Council, here today.

As such, Dr Lee said the ministry’s task force formed yesterday to study the proposals to make vaccination compulsory, would also investigate why MMR vaccination rate had dropped to 89 per cent in 2018 from the required 95 per cent for herd community.

“It is probably due to the anti-vaccine movement or problems of logistics,” he added. — Bernama