When we see the face of a newborn baby, our immediate instinct is to protect them from all threats and dangers, right? Thus, one of the ways to help protect them is to make sure they get all the immunisations.
Since the recent hit of pandemic and many other health problems around the world, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) is now taking another precautionary measure by introducing the latest infant immunisation schedule in helping to protect young children.
Starting December 2020, the Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has announced that the Pneumococcal vaccine is mandatory for all babies and is available at all MOH Health Clinics in Malaysia1.
Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham explained that conjugate pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine is given to prevent various diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcal bacterial infections which can lead to pneumonia, sinusitis, middle ear infection, meningitis and bacterial infections in the blood (septicemia)1.
[LATEST SCHEDULE] Infant Immunisation: Vaccination Schedule Recommended by MOH
Image adapted from From the Desk of the Director-General of Health Malaysia
LATEST: Pneumococcal Vaccine Included
According to the MOH, there are additional vaccines in the National Immunization Schedule, namely1:
- Pneumococcal Vaccine
- It is for children born on 1 January 2020 onwards and who are 5 months or older, the pneumococcal immunization schedule will be adjusted according to age by the MOH health facility.
The following is the latest Immunisation Schedule for Infants and Children 2021 issued by the MOH as a guide and reference for all parties, especially parents.
Immunisation Schedule for National Immunisation Program, Ministry of Health Malaysia
The schedule for 2022 will be updated from time to time.
The following is the MOH National Immunization Vaccine Schedule for the reference of all parents out there2:
National Immunization Vaccine Schedule2
Table adapted from Info Sihat, Ministry of Health Malaysia 2021
Additional Recommended Vaccines Schedule
The following is a schedule of additional vaccines that are recommended and are available at private clinics and hospitals at a certain fee.
Additional Vaccines Schedule3
Image adapted from Immunise4Life
Parents should be aware that this additional vaccine is recommended in order to help prevent the diseases described as follows3:
#1: Rotavirus (age 1 month 15 days to 8 months (2 or 3 times primer dose)
Vaccines that may help protect against Rotavirus (the virus that causes vomiting and serious diarrhea). Given at an interval of 4 weeks.
#2: Pneumococcal (age 4 months to 6 months (2 primer dose) & 15 months (Booster Dose)2
Vaccines that may help protect and prevent pneumococcal disease (can cause lung infections, meningitis and others).
#3: Influenza (age 6 months to 18 months (primer dose)
Vaccines that may help protect against viral infections of the nose, lungs, and throat, 2 doses will be given at 1-month intervals for the first 8 years as well as 1 dose per year.
#4: Meningococcal (age 2 months and above (primer dose)
Vaccines may help protect against diseases caused by bacterial infections in the lining of the brain and spinal cord that can cause permanent disability.
#5: Hepatitis A (age 12 months and above (primer dose)
Vaccines that may help protect against infectious diseases of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Given at intervals of 6 months.
#6: Varicella (age 12 months and above (primer dose)
Vaccines that may help protect against a contagious disease (chickenpox) that causes fever and blistered skin. Given at least an interval of 3 months.
Infant Vaccines: Why Are Parents Advised To Immunise Babies?
Vaccines are important for babies because they have weak immune systems4.
By giving vaccines to children according to a set schedule, you can help protect your baby from dangerous diseases such as5:
- Tuberculosis (TB) – Can cause serious infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and can continue to spread to other organs.
- Diphtheria – Toxins released by bacteria may lead to blocked airways6.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) – Can cause whooping cough and lack of oxygen to the brain7.
- Tetanus – Bacterial poisoning that causes cramps in the muscles of the body and affects the ability to open the jaw (braces).
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) – This bacterium can cause infections of the lungs (pneumonia), respiratory tract and meningitis.
- Hepatitis B – This virus can cause severe damage to the liver and increases the risk of the individual getting liver cancer in the future.
- Polio – This virus can cause paralysis and even death.
- Measles -This virus can cause fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, infections of the brain (encephalitis) and lungs (pneumonia)8.
- Mumps – This virus can cause viral meningitis and infection of testicles (orchitis)9.
- Rubella – The rubella virus can spread among humans, pregnant women, especially during the first three months of pregnancy and can cause miscarriage, fetal death, stillbirth or birth defects (congenital rubella syndrome)10.
- Pneumococcus – This bacteria can cause severe diseases like meningitis or milder infections like sinusitis or ear infections.
- Rotavirus – This virus can cause severe diarrhoea and dehydration.
- Human Papillomavirus – This virus can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
- Varicella (Chickenpox) – This virus can cause a blister like rash and fever, which can also cause shingles later as adults if the virus reactivates11.
- Influenza – This virus can cause epidemics of flu diseases or flu season12.
- Meningococcal – This bacteria can cause deadly infections of the lining of the brain, spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream13.
- Hepatitis A – This virus can cause short term infection of the liver14.
What Are The Side Effects Of Vaccines For Babies?
Many parents are hesitant to vaccinate their child because they have doubts or concerns about the safety and the necessity of the vaccine.
You need to know that all vaccines are in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and have been through stringent testing before public usage. The side effects are mild and limited. Serious side effects are also possible, but on rare occasions15.
These may include fever, mild swelling and/or pain at the injection site15. If this happens, please consult your doctor on relief measures.
However, parents are advised to consult a doctor immediately if the following conditions occur16:
- Constant crying
- Feeling very weak
- Unable to wake up
- Fever over 40° C
- Difficulty breathing.
However, parents must practice good personal hygiene, seek advice from a paediatrician about your baby’s health problems and always be sensitive to the child’s environment.
Make sure your baby is not exposed to unhealthy environments.
- From the Desk of the Director-General of Health Malaysia. Kenyataan Akhbar KPK 24 November 2020 – Pelaksanaan Pemberian Vaksin Pneumokokal Di Bawah Program Imunisasi Kebangsaan Untuk Kanak-Kanak. Available From: https://kpkesihatan.com/2020/11/24/kenyataan-akhbar-kpk-24-november-2020-pelaksanaan-pemberian-vaksin-pneumokokal-di-bawah-program-imunisasi-kebangsaan-untuk-kanak-kanak/. Last Accessed 15 Jun 2022.
- Info Sihat. Jadual Imunisasi Kebangsaan 2021. Available from: https://www.infosihat.gov.my/penerbitan-multimedia/garis-panduan/item/jadual-imunisasi-kebangsaan-terkini.html. Last accessed 18 July 2022.
- Immunise4Life. 5 Additional Recommended Vaccines for Children. Available from: https://immunise4life.my/5-additional-vaccines-for-children/. Last Accessed 13 Jun 2022.
- MyHealth. Immunisation: Facts and Myths. Available From: https://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/immunisation-facts-myths/. Last Accessed 02 Jun 2022.
- UNICEF. Vaccines and the diseases they prevent. Available From: https://www.unicef.org/parenting/health/vaccines-and-diseases-they-prevent. Last Accessed 12 May 2022.
- Mayo Clinic. Diphtheria. Available From: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diphtheria/symptoms-causes/syc-20351897. Last Accessed 10 June 2022.
- National Health Services (NHS). Whooping cough. Available From: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/whooping-cough. Last Accessed 10 June 2022.
- Mayo Clinic. Measles. Available From: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/measles/symptoms-causes/syc-20374857. Last accessed 09 June 2022.
- National Health Services (NHS). Mumps – Complications. Available From: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mumps/complications/. Last accessed 09 June 2022.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Rubella. Available From: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/rubella. Last accessed 09 June 2022.
- MyHEALTH. Chickenpox. Available From: https://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/chickenpox/. Last Accessed 01 June 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Types of Influenza Viruses. Available From: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.htm. Last Accessed 17 June 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meningococcal Disease. Available From: https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/index.html. Last Accessed 17 June 2022.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What is Hepatitis A. Available From: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm#overview. Last Accessed 17 June 2022.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Vaccines and Immunization: Vaccine Safety Q&A. Available From: https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/vaccines-and-immunization-vaccine-safety. Last Accessed 15 June 2022.
- Seattle Children’s Hospital. Immunization Reactions. Available From: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/immunization-reactions/. Last Accessed 15 June 2022.