THE MALAYSIA NATIONAL IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME: SHOULD CHILDHOOD IMMUNISATION BE MADE COMPULSORY BY LAW?
Based on our vaccination Roundtable 1/2020, we recognised that:-
1. Demand for vaccination is a complex issue and needs a system approach to address it. It is influenced by awareness levels of the population, socio-economic factors influencing access to services and level of trust of the health system. Increasing vaccination rates require us to address the 3 Cs: Confidence, Complacency, Convenience.
2. Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective public health ways of reducing incidences of vaccine-preventable diseases and its consequences. In the last two centuries, vaccines have contributed towards eradication of smallpox, reduced global child mortality rates, and prevented countless birth defects and lifelong disabilities, such as paralysis from polio.
3. Adequate immunization coverage of the population and other important components such as disease and environmental surveillance, health advocacy, early case detection, early treatment and epidemiology investigation are instrumental in the effective control of vaccine-preventable diseases.
4. Recent global outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles has led several countries to make vaccination compulsory by law and regulation.
5. Despite the overwhelming volume of evidence on the benefits of immunization, there remains widespread misconceptions, mistrust of information and deliberate misrepresentation about vaccine efficacy and safety. Vaccine hesitancy has been identified as one of the 10 global public health threats by the World Health Organization in 2019.
6. The anti-vaccine movement in Malaysia is using social media, public event, publications, collaborating with healthcare providers and registered NGOs. They are getting more organised, vocal, influential, and is a growing threat in the control of vaccine preventable diseases in Malaysia.
7. The government is responsible to communicate with the population about vaccine preventable disease and its complications. The Malaysian National Immunisation Programme continue to face various challenges including the growing threat of anti-vaccine groups.
8. All children residing in Malaysia regardless of citizenship status have a right to be protected via immunisation.
9. The Fee Act 2015 presents obstacles and challenges in ensuring effective immunisation coverage to vulnerable population specifically migrants and undocumented communities.
1. The Government to enact relevant and enabling legislation for mandatory vaccination through a multi-agency approach.
2. The Government to subsidise vaccines in National Immunisation Program for all children. No child should be left behind.
3. The Public especially all parents and guardians to be informed and to ensure that their children are vaccinated according the schedule in the National Immunisation Program.
4. The Government to review and amend the Fee Act 2015 as necessary.
5. The Government to take stern action using law, regulation and policies against the anti-vaccine movement.
6. The Government, private sector, NGOs and professional bodies to work together to create vaccine and vaccination literacy among general public as means to increase public confidence, trust and accountability towards reducing vaccine-preventable diseases.
7. The Government and the private sector to collaborate to ensure adequate vaccine coverage.
8. The Government to align government policies with health concerns at borders and areas with high population mobility in relevant parts of Malaysia.
9. The Government to increase resources to support the enforcement efforts of the Ministry of Health in regulation of service delivery and compliance to Public Health Laws, to protect the safety of our children and the Rakyat.
10. The Government to set up excellent specialist epidemiology surveillance centers and upgrade the technology in its diagnostic public health laboratories in order to control and manage the threat of vaccine-preventable diseases.
This resolution and movement had been organised and support by NGOs listed below:
1) Persatuan Pakar Perubatan Kesihatan Awam Malaysia
2) International Medical University (IMU)
3) Medical Mythbusters Malaysia
4) Delegation of Nurses
5) Islamic Nurses Association of Malaysia (INAM)
6) Malaysian Male Nurses (MMN)
8) Family Medicine Specialist Association
9) Public Health Malaysia
10) Malaysian Women’s Action for Tobacco Control and Health (MyWATCH)
11) Persatuan Kesihatan Environmen Malaysia (Malaysian Association of Environmental Health)
12) Malaysia Laryngectomee Association (MLA)
13) Pertubuhan Rangkaian Pembangunan Kesinambungan Malaysia (SUSDEN Malaysia)
14) Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM)
15) Malaysian Medical Association Public Health Society( MMA PHS)
16) Malaysian Integrated Medical Professionals Association (MIMPA)
17) Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health (MAAH)
19) Pertubuhan Amal Perubatan Ibnu Sina Malaysia (PAPISMA)
20) Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association (FOMCA)
21) Galen Centre
22) Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA)
“BERBAKTI KE ARAH KESEJAHTERAAN MASYARAKAT”
DATO’ DR. ZAINAL ARIFFIN BIN OMAR
Persatuan Pakar Perubatan Kesihatan Awam Malaysia
23 January 2020