Immunisation jabs may be made compulsory

Hilmi YahayaBUTTERWORTH: The Health Ministry will discuss with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, among the relevant ministries, on enacting a law to make immunisation injections for children in Malaysia a must.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya said currently there was no specific law on immunisation and “it’s best to make it compulsory for all children”.

“Besides that, the health ministry will be collaborating with the Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to issue a fatwa (edict) making immunisation injections compulsory, in the interest of all parties.

“I also hope that mosques throughout the country can read out sermons on the importance of immunisation during Friday prayers to create awareness among Muslims so as not to endanger their children’s lives by refusing the injections.”

He said this to reporters after handing out contributions to cancer patients at Seberang Jaya Hospital (HSJ), here, today.

He was asked to comment on the latest two reported diphtheria cases in Sabah where a three-year-old child who did not receive the diphtheria immunisation jab had died, while another is being treated in hospital.

Dr Hilmi said parents whose children had not taken the immunisation injection could do so at the nearest health clinic regardless of their children’s age.

On another development, he said the Health Ministry planned to build a low-risk maternity centre in the Seberang Jaya area to cater to the number of deliveries at HSJ, which recorded 20 births daily – 100% more than at Penang Hospital.

“We are looking for a site for the centre so that it can operate soon. The location should be near HSJ, that is, only about 10 minutes away.

“Currently, the only low-risk maternity centre is in Putrajaya,” he said, adding that such a centre was for expectant mothers with no health problems.