This year, the Ministry of Health Malaysia once again made improvements to the NIP by introducing a 6-in-1 vaccine and announcing a new immunisation schedule.
The Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, issued a statement recently regarding the introduction of this vaccine and the change to the new immunisation schedule for children who get their immunisation at Ministry of Health Clinics. He said, “The switch in the immunisation schedule is done following the change in the type of vaccine used, from the 5-in-1 vaccine to 6-in-1 vaccine, under the National Immunisation Program for children. The implementation will be conducted in stages, which will start as early as November 2020 depending on the availability of this vaccine supply at MOH health facilities.”
The Benefits of the 6-In-1 Vaccine
Dr Jamiatul Aida Md Sani, Senior Principal Assistant Director at the Ministry of Health’s Disease Control Division, said the move to introduce the 6-in-1 vaccine in the NIP was made with careful consideration by the National Immunisation Policy and Practice Committee.
The Six (6) Diseases Prevented By ‘6-In-1’ Vaccine
Infection of the throat and nose that can cause breathing difficulties, heart failure, paralysis and death.
Infection of the nervous system that can cause muscle cramps especially in the jaw and neck and which often cause death.
Pertusis (Whooping cough)
An infection of the respiratory tract that can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain inflammation and can also cause death.
Infection of the nervous system that can cause permanent paralysis and can be fatal.
An infection of the liver that can cause severe liver damage and lead to liver cancer.
Haemophilus influenzae type b
An infection that cause inflammation of the lining of the brain, bacterial infections in the blood and pneumonia and which can be fatal.
Dr Rozita Ab Rahman, Senior Principal Assistant Director from the Immunisation Unit, Family Health Development Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia, said “There are several advantages in the use of this 6-in-1 vaccine. The main advantage is the reduction of the number of injections required and immunisation visits at Health Clinics.
“The second advantage is from the point of view of the comfort of the baby itself. Injections are painful for babies, even for a moment. Less injections means less episodes of pain and crying. Thirdly, healthcare personnel will have more time during clinic appointments to conduct assessments of the babies’ health and development such as their growth and their sensory and intellectual development.”
The 6-in-1 Vaccine is Safe for Children
Ms Norleen bt Mohamad Ali, Senior Principal Assistant Director, Pharmacovigilance Section at the Centre of Compliance & Quality Control, National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), said, “The 6-in-1 vaccine is safe to use. Just like other vaccines, this vaccine will go through a few clinical trial phases including a large-scale trial before it can be used commercially. This is to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine to the recipients.
“In Malaysia, a vaccine goes through a strict and thorough registration process by the Drug Control Authority (DCA) under the Ministry of Health. After the approval for registration is granted, only then can the vaccine be used and marketed in Malaysia, including being introduced in the National Immunisation Programme.”
The New NIP Schedule
This article is courtesy of the Immunise4Life programme by Ministry of Health Malaysia, Malaysian Paediatric Association and Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases & Chemotherapy, supported by the Vaccination is Protection for Kids initiative.