KUALA TERENGGANU: There are at least 265 parents who stood by their decision to reject vaccination for their children in the state despite efforts to convince them other- wise.
Health and education authorities have gone out of their way to advise and counsel parents on the need to immunise their children, but there were those who were adamant with their decision.
Terengganu recorded an increase in the number of children who failed to get vaccinations from 42 cases in 2013 to 281 cases last year due to rejection by parents who were worried about the content of the vaccine and its halal-haram status.
State Health director Dr Mohammad Omar said the upward trend was worrying and efforts had been made to provide counselling to parents by medical specialists.
“For those who refused to attend counselling sessions, our team of medical specialists will visit them at home. However, our records showed 265 parents stood by their decision to reject vaccination even after counselling.
“In such cases, our staff at the respective health clinics will monitor the progress of the child and identify vaccine-preventable diseases. Parents were also advised to bring their children to hospital immediately if symptoms developed,” he said.
Dr Mohammad said health officers would also try to identify children who missed vaccinations during their house-to-house calls in areas under their watch and would provide a new vaccination schedule for the child.
“Among our efforts to create awareness is providing pamphlets on immunisation at all 47 health clinics and six hospitals in the state.
“Pregnant mothers were also educated on the importance of immunisation during health checks at every clinic.”
He advised parents to take immunisation seriously because some contagious diseases could be fatal to their children.
“As a member of society, it becomes a collective responsibility of parents to ensure that the community is protected from contagious diseases.
“Parents must not fall prey to campaigns by anti-vaccination movements, whether by persons or through the Internet,” he said.
Other reasons include influence of husbands, practice of Sunnah dietery and traditional treatment, homeopathy and belief that diseases would not harm them even when not immunised.
Dr Mohammad said last year, of the 26,209 births, 98.7 per cent received BCG, 100 per cent for Hepatitis B Dos 3, 101 per cent for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussia-polio-hemophilis influenza Dos 3 and 109 per cent for measles-mumps-rubella.