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IMAM Official Press Statement regarding the effects of vaccination

ISLAMIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT

The Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) would like to express our objections to the recent article published by Sinar Harian dated 27th June 2016 regarding the effects of vaccination.

2. Among others, the Sinar Harian article alleged that vaccination was responsible for causing the child to be disabled. The unfortunate events surrounding the child’s disability was neither investigated nor independently verified.

3. The effect of such misleading news and poor investigative reporting would only be detrimental to the continuing efforts of the Ministry of Health to promote the National Immunisation Program towards eliminating vaccine preventable disease and mitigating the current outbreaks of measles and diphtheria.

4. IMAM urges the mass media and news agencies to investigate thoroughly and verify these claims of Adverse Effects Following Immunisations (AEFI). Vaccines are administered to healthy children and adults. Therefore, they are manufactured to meet the most stringent and highest standards of safety. Before vaccines are licensed, the National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) requires many years of research, clinical trials and testing to ensure safety. This process may take 10-15 years or longer. In the majority of cases, vaccines are effective in protecting the person from disease and cause no side effects. A few may experience mild AEFI eg soreness, swelling or redness at the injection site, low grade fever or slight malaise. In extremely rare circumstances, people may experience more serious side effects, like allergic reactions. These reactions are so rare that the risk is very difficult to quantify.

  1. In recent years, a number of web sites providing unbalanced, misleading and alarming vaccine safety information were established, which raised undue fears among parents and patients. Myths and misinformation about vaccine safety can confuse parents who are trying to make sound decisions about their children’s health care. Inaccurate and sensationalisation of health news reporting only serves to erode the public trust in the immunization campaigns of the Ministry of Health. Besides, it is against best journalistic practices and code of ethics.
  1. Misinformation is rife on the Internet, making it hard to find reliable sources of information. In 2003, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO and keys NGOs initiated the Vaccine Safety Net Project (VSN) to respond promptly, efficiently, and scientifically to vaccine safety issues of potential global importance. A list of reliable websites on vaccines in 10 different languages can be found on the website: www.who.int/vaccine_safety/initiative/communication/network/vaccine_safety_websites/en/
  1. IMAM with her over 3,000 members of medical practitioners and health care providers is ready to offer professional expertise to institutions who wish to obtain further information or organize discussions regarding immunizations. IMAM would like to extend this invitation to the mass media and news agencies so as to ensure accurate information about immunsiation and other health related issue is reported and disseminated.

 

Prof Dato’ Dr Abd Rahim Mohamad

President, IMAM