IPOH, Oct 20 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said today the death of a 14-month-old girl from diphtheria in Johor Baru is a wake-up call for parents to allow their children to be vaccinated.
“Diphtheria is a serious and potentially fatal disease, but can be prevented through vaccination,” he told reporters at the Ipoh Cardiovascular Society Scientific Meeting held at the Weil Hotel here.
“Some parents feel that there are side effects involving immunisation, but we have scientific proof that the vaccination for diphtheria is effective and safe.
“Thus, parents must give permission for their children to be vaccinated. We encourage all children to undergo the immunisation programme offered by the ministry,’ he added.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported that the girl, who died on October 15, did not receive diphtheria immunisation as the family had refused it.
When asked if the vaccination would be made mandatory, Dr Lee said the Ministry has no current plans to make the vaccination mandatory.
“All children born, whether in public or private hospitals, are encouraged to undergo the ministry’s immunisation programme.
“If there are certain parents who don’t consent for their newborn or children to undergo the immunisation programme, we can’t force them,” he said.
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