Migrant kids among 1,000 given polio vaccine
Published on: Saturday, December 28, 2019
By: R Gonzales
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Left: Sarifah immediately sent two daughters to get the immunisation.
Right: A child from Taman Telipok Ria being given the free immunisation.
Tuaran: More than 1,000 children, including infants under the age of five in Taman Telipok Ria, near here, received additional immunisation from the Ministry of Health (MOH) in an effort to stop the spread of polio virus, Friday.

A ceremony to launch the Sabah Polio Immunisation Campaign 2019/2020 was held at a community hall from 10am until 6pm. Non-citizens were also given a health card after filling out a form. The Tuaran Health Department engaged the services of 114 volunteers who were tasked with advising and ensuring that parents bring their five-year-olds and below for the immunisation.

The Ministry previously confirmed a three-month-old boy from a village in Tuaran was infected with the polio virus and became the first case after 27 years of Malaysia free of the disease.

The victim was found to have a fever followed by a weakened limb and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after being diagnosed with vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1). 

Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung  said the Ministry and relevant agencies carry out careful planning and immunisation throughout Sabah from time to time based on suitable locations.

“The programme aims to immunise children who missed out from being immunised at the polio case site in Tuaran and nearby area so as to prevent the virus from spreading.”

He did not comment further on the health condition of the polio victim who is still being treated in an isolation room at Sabah Women’s and Children Hospital in Likas and the baby is in stable condition despite being given respiratory assistance.

“The best way to prevent polio is through immunisation as the virus spreads knows no borders,” he said when officiating the campaign. Also present was Sabah Health Director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi.


A non-local resident, Sarifah Masitah Abdul Razak, 38, who has been living in the residential area since five years ago, said she initially did not know about the polio virus incident.

“At first, I did not recognise the importance of the polio vaccine because I did not know the news about infected children in the district here.

“However, as soon as my husband (a local) was notified about the danger of the virus, I immediaately sent my two daughters who are five and one year old as early as 11am to get the immunisation. In fact, it is free compared to the same service in hospital,” he said.

Another resident, Aisyah Murphy, 34, said she sent her two daughters aged eight and nine months to get the additional immunisation at 4.30pm that only took her about five minutes, including registering them.

“This service (polio immunisation) is free compared to the same service in hospitals where we have to pay RM40 per child. 

“This immunisation is very important to my family because the block where my house is located is also inhabited by people from a neighbouring country,” she said Aisyah, who is from Semporna.

Earlier Dr Christina said health education on polio and preventive measures are made public through social media, distribution of health education materials, and lectures, among others.

“Parents need to make sure their children who missed the immunisation must be taken to a nearby Health Clinic. Rescheduling of immunisation for children who missed the exercise will be done accordingly,” she said.

The immunisation campaign to regain the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recognition that Malaysia is a polio-free nation has also received support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).


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