Double vac­ci­na­tions safe, says min­istry


PETALING JAYA: The Health Min­istry yes­ter­day re­futed a re­cent front page re­port in The Star news­pa­per that claimed it had di­rected all health clin­ics to avoid giv­ing ba­bies double vac­ci­na­tions.

Its deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral Dr Lok­man Hakim Su­laiman said the min­istry had not is­sued such a di­rec­tive to health prac­ti­tion­ers.

He said his re­sponse to sev­eral ques­tions on the is­sue had been mis­in­ter­preted, lead­ing to con­fu­sion.

The min­istry’s Dis­ease Con­trol Di­vi­sion head Dr Ro­hani Jahis said vac­ci­na­tions do not cause autism and even if a child is given two vac­ci­na­tions on the same day, the only side ef­fect would be pain.

She said the alu­minium ad­ju­vants in the vac­cines are ex­tremely low as it is pro­duced in ac­cor­dance with World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­men­da­tions, adding that par­ents need not worry as vac­ci­na­tions rec­om­mended by the min­istry for new­borns and chil­dren are safe.

“The only side ef­fect will be pain as the child will be jabbed twice and of course, the other po­ten­tial side ef­fects that are listed in the vac­cines’ pack­ag­ing,” Ro­hani said in re­sponse to the news­pa­per re­port on fears over a pos­si­ble link be­tween double vac­ci­na­tions and autism among chil­dren. The re­port also stated that a study by the min­istry showed no such link.

Ac­cord­ing to the United States Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol, some of the mild side ef­fects in­clude headaches, up­per res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion, stuffy nose, sore throat, joint pain, ab­dom­i­nal pain, cough, nau­sea, di­ar­rhoea and fever.

Rare and more se­ri­ous side ef­fects have been re­ported in about one per­son in 100, within six months of vac­ci­na­tion.

These in­clude blood in the urine or stool, pneu­mo­nia and in­flam­ma­tion of the stom­ach or in­testines.

“The vac­cines go through rig­or­ous test­ing. The neg­a­tive side ef­fects are rare. All the vac­cines are pro­duced in de­vel­oped coun­tries like the US, UK or Aus­tralia, and they meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards,” Ro­hani said.

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