KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 – Over 7,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Health Ministry to list the pneumococcal vaccine in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).
The petition pointed out that Pakatan Harapan (PH) had pledged in their 2018 election manifesto to include the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in the government’s immunisation programme, but it was not listed in Budget 2019 tabled last October.
“This vaccine is so important that the government should provide it free to all Malaysian babies. This will help protect all our children whether rich or poor,” said the petition that has been signed by 7,403 people at the time of writing.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends all countries to include PCV in their respective NIPs. 142 countries (70 percent) of all 195 countries in the world already provide PCV for children in their respective NIPs. But not Malaysia.”
The pneumococcal vaccine protects children against pneumococcal disease that can cause deafness, meningitis, pneumonia, and blood infection.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad reportedly said last October that his ministry was considering making pneumococcal vaccines mandatory for children below two years.
Dzulkefly also said he expected the vaccine to be listed in the NIP this term and he has requested an allocation for it in the next government budget.