DPM: 95pc vaccination rate needed for effectiveness

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks during the official launch of Yayasan Petronas in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail speaks during the official launch of Yayasan Petronas in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Vaccines must be given to 95 per cent of the country for immunisation to be effective, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said this was based on the Health Ministry’s statistics from 2017, which focused on the prevalence of measles in the country.

“That year only 88 per cent of Malaysians were vaccinated against measles when it ought to be higher instead,” Dr Wan Azizah said following the launch of the Yayasan Petronas at KLCC.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also women, family and community development minister, urged parents not to dispute the validity of vaccinations for their children to prevent the spread of diseases.

“The vaccines are there after decades of research have been conducted to reach that level of preventive efficacy.

“Nor should you fear the halal status of vaccines, since the Islamic Development Department has already issued a fatwa to that effect,” she said.

She also cautioned sceptical parents against listening to vaccine naysayers.

“One or two unfortunate cases involving vaccines are extremely rare, and should not be used to judge vaccination as a whole.

“Please vaccinate your children, as nothing is more saddening and tragic than having your child die from a preventable disease,” Dr Wan Azizah said.

Malaysia has seen a surge of vaccine rejection cases in the past year or so, with Kedah having the highest number of rejections at 139 cases in 2018.

Seventeen cases of diphtheria occurred in Kedah between 2015 and 2017, resulting in four deaths.

The victims were all unvaccinated children.