PUTRAJAYA, Feb 7, 2016:

The Ministry of Health refutes claims spread over the social media that children born with small head or brain (microcephaly) which is happening in Brazil, is not related to the Zika virus but due to immunisation such as Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertusis vaccine).

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the article written was factually wrong and misleading the public who were already worried with what was actually happening in the Americas.

“The writer is urging pregnant mothers not to go through vaccination or immunisation,” he said in a statement here today.

According to him, Gardasil (a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine) was not administered to pregnant women in any country in the world.

“However Tdap was introduced in developed countries such as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom since 2012 to address pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic among newborns and was never associated with ‘microcephaly’ in the countries concerned,” he said.

As such, Dr Noor Hisham reiterated that immunisation was not linked to what was happening in Brazil.

He said vaccine invention was a technological development which had succeeded in reducing the number of cases and deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

“It is the practice of all countries, including Malaysia, should any vaccine be known to cause serious harm to humans, it would be withdrawn from the market,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that many infectious diseases had been successfully eradicated or controlled and were no longer a global health problem.

“No one can deny that smallpox was wiped out worldwide and now polio is almost eradicated due to immunisation programme,” he said.

He said, it was unfortunate to note that the children who suffered from infectious diseases such as measles, whooping cough and diphtheria and died in the country were those not given immunisation at the recommended age.

As such he urged the public to get information on specific health or medical condition from reliable sources.

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