The Jakarta Post
The Health Ministry has promised to continue with measles-rubella (MR) vaccinations after a nationwide immunization drive officially ended on Tuesday.
The ministry’s disease control and prevention director general, Anung Sugihantono, said the ministry had decided to continue with the service to increase MR immunization especially outside of Java.
Anung said the ministry would increase efforts to rein in preventable diseases through immunization.
“We are currently mapping out areas at risk of diseases that can be prevented through immunization,” Anung said in a statement published on a website run by the ministry, sehatnegeriku.com.
“Hopefully, we will be able to achieve immunization coverage of 95 percent in 2019,” he added.
The ministry had ceased the MR vaccination services after the official campaign ended, based on recommendations from several medical organizations, including the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI) and the National Commission on Post-Immunization Accidents (Komnas KIPI). The recommendation urged that the MR vaccine be included in the basic vaccination program. To date, the MR vaccine is optional, and the campaign was hampered by rejection from parents opposing the vaccine over religious concerns.
The MR vaccination campaign, which was conducted in 28 provinces, was originally scheduled to take place from August to September last year. However, the ministry decided to extend it to Oct. 31 and later again to Dec. 31, after only achieving nationwide coverage of 66.29 percent instead of the targeted 95 percent. (dpk/swd)