Report if children suffer ill effects of vaccination, parents advised

AFP

PETALING JAYA - Parents are encouraged to notify the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau of any symptoms they think might be linked with vaccination.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said a committee would investigate the incidence.

"If there is a safety issue with the implicated vaccine, a warning shall be given to all health facilities and the community," he said in an email reply.

He said that the bureau had received 102 reports or 0.0025% of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) in 4.1 million doses of vaccination given to children aged below two in Malaysia last year.

"Most AEFI cases reported involve minor reaction at injection site, mild fever and rash which were resolved uneventfully," he said.

Dr Hisham said AEFI reports received for all age groups showed a decreasing trend, 1,068 cases reported last year compared with 1,777 in 2013.

While most cases of AEFI had been mild, in severe cases, children would need to be hospitalised, such as in cases of anaphylactic shock or Acute Demyelinating Encepha­lomyelitis or death following immunisation, he said.

"The suspected severe AEFI cases will be thoroughly investigated and if found related to the vaccination, the child will not be subjected to the same vaccine type," he said.

Parents could lodge reports of AEFI to any government or private health facilities that administer vaccines or fill up the form - "Consumer Complaints Relating To Medicine" - which could be downloaded from the bureau website http://portal.bpfk.gov.my/ or fax to 03-7956 7151 or mail it to the bureau.

Asked why Malaysians still get infected with certain diseases that they had been immunised from, he said certain districts had lower coverage.

"This is contributed by a highly mobile population, working parents and to some extent the vaccine hesitancy group.

"At the same time, we have influx of immigrants of unknown vaccination status," he said.

Dr Hisham pointed out that with immunisation, smallpox had been eradicated and the world was declared free of smallpox in 1980.

The last reported case was in 1978 (laboratory acquired) and 1977 was the last case in community.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said when the Government introduced the use of the various vaccines, it would weigh the pros and cons and would only use it when they were convinced that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.