MPWS: Need to educate people on immunisation

KOTA KINABALU: Vaccination awareness programmes are necessary in the State so that the public, especially parents will realise the important role they play in reaching full immunisation.
To educate on the safety and efficacy of vaccination as well as dangers of remaining unvaccinated, Sabah Women’s Advisory Council (MPWS) Health Committee organised an Immunisation Awareness Seminar at Wisma Wanita here, Wednesday.
MPWS Chairman, Datuk Noni Said when officiating the seminar said the programme is vital in providing knowledge and awareness to the public on the importance of immunisation.
She said immunisation is a simple and effective way of protecting children from serious diseases and it not only protects the child from deadly diseases but also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that can be spread from child to child.

“When children are not vaccinated, they are at risk of catching diseases than can spread to other children in their play groups, school and communities, including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

“I hope the people who participated in this seminar will go back and spread the awareness on immunisation to their families and friends in achieving health priorities through vaccination,” she said.
Noni said immunisation is also important to reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, especially when the disease comes from the unvaccinated immigrants in the State.
“When we are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, our immune system is able to build up antibodies that protect them from contacting the disease.

From my non-medical view, even if we get the disease it would not be as bad as the one who did not get immunisation,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sabah Health Department Chief Assistant Director, Dr Prabakaran Dhanaraj said according to  statistics, there are 14 people in the State who have refuse to get vaccinated, from Jan to June, this year.

He said that many of the people are well-educated and they also appear to be victims of widespread misinformation.

“Anti-vaccination has been going around for about 100 years and every time they get new information, they tend to make it an issue. It seems that the more educated the person is, the more they are easily convinced. It should be the other way around.
“People are more informed now, but some of them decided not to get vaccinated,” he said.
He also said the State Government needs to have a policy on immunisation for refugees and immigrants.
“Most of the immigrants in Sabah do not get vaccinated and they are working here. So we need to find solutions for this so that they will not affect other people if there is a disease outbreak coming from them.
Prabakaran said vaccine is the cheapest form of prevention against diseases and deaths.

He said the government incurs an immunisation cost of RM15 million to RM20 million a year.

“We need to encourage people to get vaccinated, it is free for Malaysians,” he said.By: Ottey Peter.

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