Dear Parents, You Can Be Fined RM50K And Jailed 20 Years If You Don't Vaccinate Your Kids

Neglecting to vaccinate your kids is child abuse.

Cover image via CDC Public Health Image Library

Five unvaccinated Malaysian kids have died from diphtheria. And before this easily preventable disease becomes an outbreak and claims more lives, the Malaysian government has decided to get tough with "anti-vaxxers" by making vaccinations mandatory...

...and parents who choose not vaccinate their kids can be charged for child abuse under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001. The guilty parents would be fined RM20,000 or a jailed for 10 years or both, reported NST.

The Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry, however, is working to increase the punishment through an amendment in the Child Act (Amendment) 2015.

According to The Star Online, the amendment once gazetted and enforced, would see parents fined RM50,000 and jailed 20 years or both.

The good news is that the amendment to the Child Act has been approved by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April and May. According to the Ministry, "the Bill is in the process of being gazetted and enforced to increase the penalty under Section 31."

While advising parents to be responsible by following the Health Ministry's recommendation for their children to be vaccinated, the Ministry warned that if "parents refuse to vaccinate their children and this results in the spread of infections and endangering the children's lives, it can be considered as a form of child neglect."

This move by the Malaysian government against "anti-vaxxers" should be seen in good light as it targets parents, who either swayed by the misinformation spread through social media or simply subscribe to anti-vaccination campaigns based on half-baked notions about vaccinations, and put not only their child's but many others life in danger.

The Heath Ministry's move is due to the growing anti-vaccination movement in Malaysia, which has become an issue of concern:

On the other hand, here's a list of things parents should know:

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