The Jakarta Post
Some 49 female students at two pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan, are being quarantined after being diagnosed as rubella positive, according to the local health agency.
“The students have been medically treated as well as quarantined,” Banjarbaru Health Agency head Agus Widjaja said on Wednesday, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The students are being quarantined at their pesantren. They are not allowed to do certain activities, including meeting their friends.
Agus suspected that students coming from areas hit by a rubella outbreak in South Kalimantan, such as Tanjung subdistrict in Tabalong regency, were responsible for the spread of the disease.
“A lot of students live in the vicinity of a river. When they went home, they contracted the [rubella] disease and transmitted the virus at pesantren.”
The government has struggled to get all children vaccinated amid concerns from some Muslims who believe that the measles rubella (MR) vaccine is haram.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has issued a fatwa allowing and even encouraging Muslims to be vaccinated even though it has also declared that the MR vaccine contains haram substances.
The MUI argued that the vaccine could be consumed as there is no alternative and it is badly needed to protect public health.
Some MUI chapters in the region, however, have ignored the fatwa. Some parents are also hesitant to get their children vaccinated.
Banjarbaru Major H. Nadjmi Adhani said the MR vaccine coverage rate in the city would increase if the parents allowed their children to get vaccinated.
“It is because the parents hesitate to allow their children to get the MR immunization,” he said, adding that there are some schools in Banjarbaru that had yet to allow their students to get the MR immunization.
The government is currently promoting the MR immunization campaign for children aged 9 months to under 15 years old in provinces outside Java Island from August to September this year with a coverage rate target of 95 percent.
The vaccination program is lagging in Banjarbaru, reaching only 36.2 percent coverage after five weeks of implementation. Meanwhile, on a national scale, the program only averaged 40.2 percent as of Thursday afternoon. (sau/ahw)