Polio vaccine for 400,000 kids
Published on: Sunday, January 19, 2020
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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KOTA KINABALU: Some 400,000 children below age five are expected to get the oral polio vaccine which has been distributed in its second batch to health clinics statewide. 

“The vaccine is given free to everyone including non-citizens with children below five,” said State Health Director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi. She said some 10,000 were provided with the vaccine during the first batch. 

“Now that the second batch of vaccine has arrived, we urge those with children below five to visit their nearest health clinic instead of waiting for health campaigns to be held at their respective villages,” she said, after officiating the Mini Health Carnival 2020 organised by the Malaysian Medical Association at the Karamunsing Complex, here, Saturday. 

She said they aim to ensure over 95 per cent of children get the vaccination. Supplementary vaccination campaigns were launched by the Health Ministry following detection of a Tuaran three-month-old boy who was diagnosed with polio in December last year.  It is believed to have a genetic link to the Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) case in the Philippines and was the first case since Malaysia was declared free of polio 27 years ago.

Earlier this month, health authorities detected two more polio cases in Kinabatangan and Sandakan, bringing the number of polio cases in Sabah to three.  The two new cases involve a boy aged 11 in Kinabatangan and another, eight, in Sandakan, both of whom are non-citizens who have not received any immunisation.

On H1N1 updates in the State, Dr Rundi said they don’t monitor it like how they did when H1N1 case first happened in 2009.

“We don’t monitor it every day because we don’t have to monitor it that way, we are more towards creating awareness rather than focusing on the numbers,” she said. 

“We should be talking about prevention, having hygienic practices which will prevent us from getting infected,” she said.  

She said vaccine for the virus is just one of preventions, adding that vaccine is needed in the context of those who are at high risk, namely those above 60 and children. “Children are at high risk because they don’t have immunity, while elderly are at risk because their immunity has grown less. 

“So instead of asking for the figures, it would be best to focus on how to prevent it through proper hygiene and healthy practices,” she said.  

It was reported on Dec 30, 2019 that eight cases of H1N1 among children have been reported by a private hospital, here, since Dec 15.

Also present was Malaysian Medical Association Sabah Chairperson, Dr Haslezah Saelih. 


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