Task force to study proposal on making vaccination a must

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad says the Cabinet will discuss the report of the task force in two weeks. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The health ministry has set up a task force to study proposals and calls to make vaccination compulsory.

This follows the death of a two-year-old boy from diphtheria in Johor Bahru on Feb 21.

The boy had never been immunised.

Five children, who are believed to have been in contact with the boy, were also quarantined after they tested positive for diphtheria.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the task force would be led by the ministry’s disease control division and family health development division.

He said it would include other agencies to make it more comprehensive.

“Following discussions at the Cabinet meeting yesterday, the task force was set up to come up with a working paper on the ministry’s stand on the proposal to make vaccine immunisation compulsory.

“The results of the study by the task force will hopefully be completed quickly.

“The results will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting in two weeks,” Bernama quoted him as saying after witnessing the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the ministry and the International Medical University (IMU) in Kuala Lumpur today.

Dzulkefly said although the ministry was inclined to make vaccinations compulsory for the good of all parties, various issues, including the legal aspects, had to be taken into account.

He said the Cabinet meeting would also discuss amending or adding to existing laws to allow for compulsory vaccination.

Dzulkefly also said the ministry would improve the National Community Health Empowerment Programme (Kospen), which was formed in 2013, following the rise in the number of cases of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

He said mental health and cancer were among the areas that would be given attention.