: Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim urged parents to get their children vaccinated from birth for diphtheria as specified by the Health Ministry.
She was referring to the death of a seven-year-old girl in Malacca recently, who is believed to have died of diphtheria.
She said the vaccination is given free of charge by the Health Department to fight the highly contagious bacterial infection affecting the throat that could fatally hinder breathing.
Rohani noted the reluctance of some Muslim parents to allow their children to be vaccinated because of the fear that the diphtheria vaccine contained a porcine-derived component.
"Admittedly, the vaccine contained a non-halal substance but there is a fatwa stating that if it is categorised as a medicine, then it can be taken.
"I had been in such a situation before so what I did was ask an ustaz, who told me, 'if it is categorised as a medicine it should be taken as a medicine'.
"I know it is a very difficult decision but in a situation of life and death, if it (vaccine) is not taken, then there is a possibility that the children could be infected," she told reporters last night.
Earlier, Rohani was with Tan Sri Adenan Satem and his wife to break fast with 176 differently-able members of the community, orphans and senior citizens, who also received Raya contributions from the chief minister and her ministry.
Rohani added that parents should alter their perception and to not be too caught up in the issue surrounding the vaccine which had been viralised by the social media.
Meanwhile, she said all nursery schools under the ministry had been directed to issue a reminder to parents to get their children vaccinated.