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Jakarta Post

Let’s get childhood immunization back on track 

  • Debora Comini


Jakarta   /   Tue, September 1 2020   /  01:00 am
Stay healthy: A worker from the Tebet community health center (Puskesmas) vaccinates a student during the Schoolchildren Immunization Month event held at the East Tebet subdistrict offi ce in South Jakarta on Tuesday. There is considerable public resistance to immunization drives in Indonesia.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Around the world, countries are racing at an unprecedented speed to develop a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19. While such a breakthrough could allow social restrictions to be safely eased and bring an eventual end to the pandemic, it will likely take months or years to achieve.  In the meantime, we cannot overlook the vaccines that we already have to avert additional waves of childhood illness and death from other deadly, yet entirely preventable diseases such as measles and polio.  Already there is evidence that routine immunization services are at risk. A recent assessment of the Indonesian health system conducted by the Ministry of Health and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) shows that 84 percent of the more than 5,000 health facilities surveyed from all 34 provinces reported significant d...