Monday, July 22

Dr Jerip: Don’t be influenced by group rejecting diphtheria vaccine

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Dr Jerip browses through a leaflet on vaccines prior to closing the event. — Photo by Chimon Upon

Dr Jerip browses through a leaflet on vaccines prior to closing the event. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The public must not be influenced by certain group of people who reject vaccination for their children as it may bring worse outcome for them and the community.

Hence, Assistant Minister for Public Health Datuk Dr Jerip Susil advised the people not to be easily swayed by the propaganda of this group.

“Recently, our country was hit by 28 cases of diphtheria with five deaths. The deaths occurred in Sabah (3), Kedah (1) and Melaka (1). Investigation shows that they died because they did not receive diphtheria vaccination.

“We are lucky in Sarawak as there have been no diphtheria cases reported since 2012. We hope such situation will be maintained as many Sarawakians are still concerned about vaccinations for their children.

“Response to the vaccination is still high in our society, at more than 90 per cent.

“However, surveys by the state Health Department have found there are many parents who are starting to doubt the effectiveness of the vaccines and choose to reject vaccination due to misunderstanding about the vaccines and choosing

alternative methods such as homeopathy instead,” he said prior to the closing ceremony of a health seminar and forum titled ‘Immunisation: Facts and Controversies’ at the State Library here yesterday.

Dr Jerip said the main purpose of vaccination was to provide protection to the individuals who receive the vaccine.

“It immunises one against contagious diseases. When individuals form a community, it results in a group protection known as herd immunity. If our herd immunity is high, then diseases will not be able to infect our community easily.

“If many do not receive vaccination, then the herd immunity will be low and the risk of getting contagious diseases will be higher.

“I hope this seminar and forum have provided clear explanation on issues concerning immunisation, and the efforts to educate the public must be ongoing because these days people are too easily influenced by everything they find on ‘Doctor Google’ and social media,” he said.

State Health deputy director Dr Nordin Salleh, State Library Corporate Communications head Laurena Aloh, assistant mufti Ustaz Mual Suaud, Dr Suhazeli Abdullah and forum moderator Razak Rambili were among those present.