PUTRAJAYA (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, is proof of the government's commitment to increasing the level of protection for the people and achieve herd immunity 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 (MoH) 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 and 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 Organization (WHO), which is more than 95% for most major vaccines in immunisation programmes,” he said.
In emphasising the importance of immunisation, he referred to national astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who underwent various training and challenges before being selected as a candidate for the International Space Station (ISS) in 2007 as an example.
"He was chosen because he was healthy and had 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 Adham.
On the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, he said, as of Sunday, 78% of frontliners had completed both doses of the vaccine under Phase 1 and a total of 65,224 people had been given the first dose in Phase 2 during the same period.
Meanwhile, a coffee-table book on the national immunisation programme was also launched at the event.