‘No directive issued to limit vaccine jabs for babies’

Dr Lokman Hakim SulaimanPETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry has refuted a media report which claimed it had directed all health clinics to avoid giving babies aged 18 months double vaccine shots.

Yesterday, a report by The Star, quoting Deputy Director-General Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, claimed that the ministry had issued the directive to appease fears that a double vaccine shot might lead to a child becoming autistic.

However, Lokman, in a statement yesterday, denied making such a statement, adding that his responses to several questions on the issue had been misinterpreted, leading to confusion.

“The ministry hopes that the media would be more careful in reporting and that the necessary corrections are made to avoid confusing the public which can have serious implications on society.”

In the statement, he also reiterated what he had said yesterday, that some children were given two vaccine shots on the same day when the immunisation schedule had been breached.
Lokman had advised parents who might have missed a scheduled vaccination to discuss the rescheduling with the hospital or clinic staff and ensure that the vaccinations were still done one at a time, and not both done on the same day.

He stressed that this did not mean that a double vaccination on the same day had anything to do with a child becoming autistic.

Under the healthcare system in Malaysia, the immunisation schedule for 18-month old babies covers a single shot of five-in-one vaccine DTaP-Hib/IPV (difteria, tetanus, pertusis, hemophillus influenza B and Polio) and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.