Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said today that parents and anti-vaccine groups should not wait for a death to occur before allowing their children to be vaccinated.
Yoeh said this was unfair to the children because they are not aware if they have been vaccinated, and could be the person spreading the disease to their schoolmates and local community.
"Vaccine intake is certainly the parents' decision, but it should be remembered, when death occurs this is a strong case, so do not wait for more death cases," she told Bernama.
Yeoh said this after delivering her keynote address at the 'Diversity and Inclusion In The Workplace 3: Raising The Bar' programme, organised by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce Berhad, which was also attended by its executive director Jennifer Lopez.
Yeoh was asked to comment on the five children suspected to be diphtheria positive and currently being treated at the pediatric isolation ward of the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru.
The children, including three under the age of four, were diagnosed positive after 52 individuals were screened by the Johor Health Department.
One of the children is the sister of the 25-month old boy who died, believed to be due to diphtheria, last Tuesday.
According to Yeoh, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad in a statement on Sunday said that he would table a proposal and policy for immunisation vaccines to be made compulsory.
She said the ministry has not obtained the actual figures on children who have not been given immunisation, as this was under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry.
Yeoh also expressed concern over the presence of anti-vaccine groups despite the fact that vaccine injections have been confirmed and scientifically proven to be safe and are given free of charge at government hospitals.