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KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — The government has spent almost RM2.8 trillion on national immunisation programmes for Malaysians since 1957, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
This, he said, was proof of the government’s commitment to increase the level of protection for the people and achieve the herd community to curb the spread of diseases such as polio and tuberculosis.
In his speech, when opening the national-level Immunisation Day at the Ministry of Health here, he said, the immunisation programmes that had been introduced by the government, especially for children, would continue to be carried out despite the country facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and enforcement of the movement control order (MCO).
The celebration was held in conjunction with the World Immunisation Week which is celebrated between April 24 to 30 every year. The theme for this year’s s celebration is ‘Vaccine Brings Us Closer’.
“Currently, the immunisation coverage for infants and children is high and reaches the target set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is more than 95 percent for most major vaccines in the immunisation programmes,” he said.
In emphasising the importance of immunisation, he referred to national astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who underwent various trainings and challenges before being selected as a candidate for the International Space Station (ISS) in 2007, as an example.
“He was chosen because he is healthy and has strong immunity. Imagine if he was not vaccinated. He might not have passed the prescribed tests and that would have prevented him from going to the ISS,” said Dr Adham.
On the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, he said, as of last Sunday (April 25), 78 per cent of the frontliners had completed both doses of the vaccine under phase one and a total of 65,224 people had been given the first dose in phase two during the same period.
Meanwhile, a Coffee Table Book on the national immunisation programm was also launched at the event. — Bernama