PETALING JAYA: A teachers’ union has called for a law to hold parents responsible if they do not vaccinate their children, as the debate over compulsory vaccination continues.
“The courts should take action against those who do not vaccinate their children as it is proven to be a factor in the spread of disease,” the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said.
However, NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said he agreed with Education Minister Maszlee Malik that the law should show mercy to those who are uneducated or do not have access to vaccination.
“No one should be left behind. It is a human right for all children to have an education,” he told FMT.
Maszlee had sought to differentiate between immunisation and the right to education, saying they are separate issues.
He added that the government prioritises education for children and will not prevent anyone from attending school.
Several parents whom FMT spoke to agreed on the need for vaccination.
Network and solution analyst Anisha, 32, said if children are not vaccinated, diseases which have been successfully eradicated may make a comeback.
Operations executive Izzati, meanwhile, said education and health should go hand-in-hand.
The 34-year-old said failure to vaccinate children could lead to an epidemic in schools.
“This can be prevented if it is made mandatory for kids to be vaccinated before entering primary school.”
Engineer Heikal Saini, 34, supports vaccination as well although he acknowledged that it is the right of parents to decide against it.
Project manager Ekaterina Edham, 35, said she is all for vaccination.
“The evidence for vaccinating our children far outweighs the remote possibility that it may cause problems.
“I didn’t carry my children for nine months to risk having them die by the age of three.”