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Parents Who Reject Vaccines Are Highly Educated, Says Health Minister

Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated are likely to be more educated than their counterparts, the Malaysian Health Minister said on Thursday.

According to Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, people who live in cities and who are highly educated are more aware of the risks associated with vaccinations.

Themalaymailonline.com reports: “The ministry has detected nearly 1,600 children who did not get vaccinated last year and this figure is increasing every year. What we are concerned about is that these are educated people who know about the benefits of immunisation.

“It is a challenge to bring awareness to them and sometimes have to argue with them about the benefits of vaccines for their children. There are some parents practising homeopathy and believe homeopathic medicine will protect against all kinds of illnesses,” he told a press conference at his ministry here today.

Dr Subramaniam said this when asked to comment on the government studying a proposal to allow only vaccinated children to be enrolled in kindergartens.

Asked if there was a kindergarten in Malaysia already practicing this, Dr Subramaniam said it was uncertain if a kindergarten had already done so but described the obligation to do so was a policy decision as it involves the right to education and protection for other children.

In another development, Dr Subramaniam said he had held discussions with private doctors and Managed Care Organisations (MCOs) and Third Party Administrators (TPA) on medical claims on Monday and have obtained approval to adjust the fees under the provision of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.

He said this was because they received many complaints about TPAs in managing the health benefits of employees based on their own fees and regulations that doctors must follow.

“The matter is in the process of amendment and pending approval by the Attorney-General. It is expected to be completed in the coming months. Once completed, the fee payment will be consistent and doctors must comply with the prescribed fee.

“There are doctors who sign the agreement individually and charge fees as low as RM15. We are worried that if doctors charge such low fees, whether they will provide the best service to the people,” he said.

Dr Subramaniam said the Health Ministry also suggested that doctors and MCOs, as well as MCOs and employers enter into a contractual agreement to manage employee health benefits based on their own fees and rules that doctors must comply with, where the ministry plays a third-level monitoring role.

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