The Health Ministry is focusing on strengthening its strategies to address the increasing number of parents who reject vaccines.
Its minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the matter would also be highlighted in the 2019 Budget.
He said he had submitted a request for an additional allocation for health prevention and vaccination programmes, especially for pneumococcal vaccine.
“I have put in a request to have this pneumococcal vaccine done for children, costing RM180 million for 500,000 children per year. It is not part of the 100 days manifesto but it is a serious matter.
“The pneumococcal vaccine is needed to prevent other health-related problems such as pneumonia, lung, kidney and brain failure or meningitis,” he said during the BFM Health and Living Junior 2018 town hall session organised by BFM Media Sdn Bhd here, yesterday.
Also present was Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.
Dzulkefly said apart from budget allocation, among other strategies implemented include close monitoring and counselling for parents as well as education and promotion of immunisation activities.
“The data (obtained from public health facilities) found that the number of families who refused vaccine injection for children, aged two and below, have increased from 637 cases in 2013 to 1,918 in 2014 and 1,541 in 2015.
“However, with the increased awareness via education, promotion of immunisation activities, the numbers of those who reject vaccination have reduced slightly from 1,603 in 2016 to 1,404 in 2017,” he said.
He said the ministry was also considering the mandatory vaccination under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 to control the disease that could be prevented with vaccination, following the increase in the number of children who did not receive the injection.