Anti-vaccine movements gaining ground on the back of rising religious conservatism and the thriving internet are threatening to foil Indonesia’s painstaking effort to achieve its goal of 100 percent immunization. This worrying trend has seen the comeback of preventable diseases like diphtheria.

by Moses Ompusunggu, Ika Krismantari, Hotli Simanjuntak, Syofiardi Bachyul Jb and Wahyoe Boediwardhana

Anti-vaccine movements gaining ground on the back of rising religious conservatism and the thriving internet are threatening to foil Indonesia’s painstaking effort to achieve its goal of 100 percent immunization. This worrying trend has seen the comeback of preventable diseases like diphtheria. The Jakarta Post’s Moses Ompusunggu and Ika Krismantari examine how the activism has undermined the immunization endeavor and how to counteract it. Hotli Simanjuntak in Banda Aceh, Syofiardi Bachyul Jb in Padang and Wahyoe Boediwardhana in Surabaya have contributed to this report. Rika Restiana, a professional auditor in Padang, West Sumatra, believes solely in the power of breast milk and a healthy diet to protect her two children from diseases. She thinks there is no need to have them vaccinated. “When a child contracts a disease, his or her immune system will defeat it. ...