Anti-vaxxers movement gaining ground in Msia, warns Health Ministry

Vaccine-yes_noKUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has detected a growing anti-vaccine movement in Malaysia, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said this was based on observations made on social media trends, as well as ther growing number of parents who had refused vaccination for their children.

“According to figures derived from government health clinics, the number of parents who had refused to have their children vaccinated has seen a sharp increase from 470 cases in 2013 to 1,292 cases last year. “As of May this year, we have already recorded 1,054 such cases. “We have established that the largest followers on the anti-vaccine movement are from Kedah,” he said in reply to a question on the subject by Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (Pas-Hulu Langat).

Dr Hilmi said among the reasons behind the rejection of vaccines include doubts over its halal status; the misconception that homeopathy and traditional medicine is safer; alleged side-effects; concerns over the vaccine’s supposedly dangerous content.

The minister rejected the belief that the vaccines contain pig DNA. “It is not true, vaccines here do not have pig DNA. “Beginning next month, the Health Ministry will embark on a more aggressive campaign to create awareness on the importance of immunisation for children,” he said.

He said apart from refusing vaccination, the increase in measles, pertussis and tetanus cases were also caused by late treatment, lack of public awareness as well as the influx of migrants whose vaccination status were unclear.

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