KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 – The government has allocated RM60 million under Budget 2020 to provide all children pneumococcal vaccination, fulfilling a Pakatan Harapan (PH) election promise.
“In fulfilment of one of the pledges of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, an initial allocation of RM60 million will be provided to provide pneumococcal vaccine to all children,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in his Budget speech.
The amount is under RM30.6 billion allocated for the Ministry of Health (MOH) for 2020.
The pneumococcal vaccination allocation comes as good news as the government was previously urged to make good of its election manifesto to provide an allocation in the Budget 2020 to list the pneumococcal vaccine in the national immunisation programme.
Chan Li Jin, founder of online health information centre MyHealth Outreach, said today that she took leave to watch the tabling of Budget 2020 live.
“And still cannot stop crying yet,” Chan said about the allocation for pneumococcal vaccines.
“On behalf of my grandchildren and all Malaysian children in the future, I want to thank YBMK for keeping his promise!” she said, referring to Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.
The activist told CodeBlue that everyone involved in the campaign to make pneumococcal vaccination mandatory in Malaysia for the past 15 years were delighted with the news, from Alor Star to Bintulu.
“Paediatricians were overjoyed with the news, with one Dr Tan from Bintulu Hospital telling me she almost lost a few kids to pneumococcal the last few weeks. A 5-month-old, still warded now, will probably not make it, with severe brain damage from meningitis,” Chan said.
“The doctors who have been fighting for this even longer than the parents, are relieved that the MOH have listened to the parents’ voices. Such a painful journey…and this is actually just one milestone. Now we shall hound the MOH to make sure it gets carried out.”
According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most pneumococcal infections are mild, but some can be fatal or result in brain damage or hearing loss. Complications include meningitis, pneumonia, bacteremia (bloodstream infection), and ear infections.