Health Ministry task force to probe lower MMR jab rates

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye says the ministry’s vaccination task force will investigate why measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations have dropped to 89 per cent. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye says the ministry’s vaccination task force will investigate why measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations have dropped to 89 per cent. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, March 1 ― The Health Ministry’s vaccination task force will investigate why measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations have dropped to 89 per cent, lower than the 95 per cent required for herd immunity.

“We have no problems with the compulsory vaccination from birth to three months. The only problem we have is the MMR vaccination where 89 per cent of babies were vaccinated in 2018,” Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said.

Speaking to reporters after chairing a dialogue with non-government organisations on rabies, Dr Lee said the problem could be due to parents growing complacent.

“They maybe thought their child is healthy and face no risk,” he added.

The ministry, he said, would also look into whether the problem of logistics was preventing parents from giving their child the MMR jab.

Dr Lee also said the task force, which will study proposals to make vaccination compulsory, was given two weeks to propose to the ministry on how to counter anti-vaccine groups.

He said to ensure the public are protected from infectious diseases, it is best that the vaccination rate reaches 95 per cent.

When announcing the formation of the task force yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad had reportedly said although the ministry was inclined to making vaccination compulsory for the good of all parties, various issues including legal aspects must be taken into account.