The Health Ministry has mobilised a task force to study proposals and calls to make vaccination compulsory in the country, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said the force which would be led by the ministry’s Disease Control Division and the Family Health Development Division would also include other agencies so that it would be more comprehensive.
“Following a discussion in the cabinet meeting yesterday, the task force was set up to come up with a working paper on the ministry’s stand on the proposal to make vaccine immunisation compulsory in the country.
“The results of the study by the task force will hopefully be completed quickly [...] it is due to be discussed at the cabinet meeting in two weeks,” he said after witnessing the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the Health Ministry and the International Medical University (IMU) today.
Also present were Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, chairperson of the IMU Group Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman and IMU vice-chancellor Abdul Aziz Baba.
At the event, the ministry and IMU signed two modules on joint online training modules on disease safety and the launch of Kospen-IMU.
Dzulkefly said although the ministry was inclined to make vaccination compulsory for the good of all parties, various issues including the legal aspects must be taken into account.
He added the cabinet meeting will also discuss amending or adding to existing laws to allow for compulsory vaccination.
In a separate development, Dzulkefly said the ministry will improve the National Community Health Empowerment Programme (Kospen) which was formed in 2013 following the rise in the number of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
Among the areas which would be given attention are mental health and cancer.
Meanwhile, in KOTA KINABALU, the Sabah state government said it will go by the federal government’s decision on the proposal and policy on making immunisation vaccination compulsory for children, including babies.
State Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wong Tien Fatt said the vaccinations were important as an early step towards preventing the spread of contagious diseases.
He said his office was in the midst of discussing the matter with the federal government.
Speaking to reporters after launching the health centre of a private hospital today, Wong was commenting on the Health Ministry’s decision on compulsory vaccination.
In a related development, Wong said foreign workers in Sabah will have to undergo early health checks, including vaccination, to prevent the spread of tuberculosis (TB) among the local population.
"It cannot be denied that foreigners are among the carriers of TB in this state. This will, of course, have a negative effect on the health of the people,” he said. - Bernama