KUALA LUMPUR: More parents are refusing vaccination for their children, resulting in a significant increase in several preventable diseases.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said 1,451 parents who used government clinics refused to have their children vaccinated in 2015, compared to 918 parents in 2014.
“In the past three to five years, there has been an increase in some vaccine-preventable diseases.
“For example, as of June 2016, we had 1,009 cases of measles, as opposed to 1,318 cases throughout 2015 and a mere 235 cases in 2014.
“As for diphtheria, we had 13 cases as of June 2016, compared to four cases last year and two the year before,” he said in response to Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (BN–Sabak Bernam) in Parliament Monday.
However, Dr Hilmi noted that a few other vaccine preventable diseases, such as pertusis, neonatal tetanus and rubella, had recorded a downward trend.
“Pertusis is down to just 138 cases as of June this year compared to 939 cases throughout last year.
“Tetanus is also down from 16 cases last year to only four in the first six months of 2016,” he said.
Dr Hilmi also said that the ministry is aware of parents being hesitant to vaccinate children because of rumours and false news on various media, and it is working towards educating parents.
“We have press statements that highlight the need for immunisation and have also collaborated with Jakim to have health forums in the states.
“The ministry’s MyHealth portal also provides facts and information on vaccines and immunisation, and we also work with relevant agencies to promote this information,” he said, adding that the public should refer to medical experts if they had doubts.