The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Pediatric Society’s immunization task force secretary Soedjatmiko said the number of diphtheria cases in Indonesia remained high despite the government’s recent Outbreak Response Immunization (ORI) program because many parents were still reluctant to give their children a complete basic vaccination.
“Most of the 760 children hospitalized and more than 40 of the people who died after contracting the disease were not vaccinated at all or had not completed their diphtheria vaccination,” Soedjatmiko told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
He said there was no other way to prevent diphtheria and urged minimizing the outbreak through vaccination.
“Parents have to make sure their children receive complete vaccinations. Even though they are sure [that their children have been vaccinated], they should vaccinate their children again this month, next month and five months from now,” he said.
Indonesian Doctors Association chairman-elect Daeng M. Faqih said Indonesia was still in the middle of responding to the outbreak.
“The ORI program needs to be expanded in terms of the number of people it targets and the scope of area where the program is held," Daeng said on Wednesday.
He emphasized that the ORI program should not hinder the implementation of routine immunizations for diphtheria.
“The government must make sure that the vaccines and human resources for routine vaccinations are still available along with the ORI program,” Daeng said.
“This is an outbreak of a very dangerous disease with numerous cases and is spreading rapidly. The actions taken must be measured, fast and precise.” (nmn/ebf)