Vaccinate kids or risk measles outbreak, warns health ministry

There has been an increase in measles cases due to parents shunning vaccination for their children.

PETALING JAYA: The health ministry has warned of a possible outbreak of measles in the country as more parents are objecting to vaccination for their children.

The warning follows a recent BBC report which quoted the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that Europe had seen a big surge in measles cases last year.

Experts from the organisation said those shunning vaccinations were part of the problem.

Speaking to FMT, health ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Malaysians might face the same scenario unless the belief that vaccinations could cause autism was debunked once and for all.

“We must continue to promote vaccination,” he added.

In the first week of June 2016, 66 cases of measles were reported. This was four to five times more than reported in the same period the year before.

Noor Hisham said in a statement that in 2014, there were only 11 reported outbreaks of measles. However, this rose to 57 in 2015.

He said the latest data had not revealed any outbreak since 2016.

“But there have been sporadic cases.”

In July 2017, the health ministry revealed that the majority of parents who refused to vaccinate their children in 2016 were from Perak, Terengganu and Pahang, and that these parents mostly objected to the vaccinations on religious grounds.

This prompted Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria to call on Muslims to ignore preachers who were against vaccinations.

Speaking to FMT, he said parents had a religious obligation to get their children inoculated even if the vaccines were tainted with impurities, as some preachers had claimed.

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