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World Immunization Week 2023 – Accelerating immunization coverage to protect Indonesia’s Golden Generation

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Jakarta, IO – “Immunization is an important basic element in health protection. It is especially beneficial for protecting children from immunization preventable diseases (IPD). However, immunization services have been suspended because of the pandemic and the erroneous stigma relating to vaccination. It is time for us to catch up with the delayed completion of our vaccination scheme to ensure that Indonesia’s children are safe.” This is the message in the World Immunization Week (WIW) 2023 media briefing, “Catch Up with Immunization Coverage, Protect our Golden Generation”, organized by GSK on Monday (8/5/2023). 

According to 2021 WHO data, the estimated number of children across the country who did not get complete immunization is 25 million. That is 5.9 million more children than in 2019, and it is the highest number of non-immunized children since 2009. The total number of incompletely immunized children in the 2017- 2021 period is 1,525,936. To reduce this number, our Government instituted the National Children Immunization Month in 2022. However, the program’s regional achievement rate is lower than the target at 35%, especially in the provinces outside of Java and Bali. 

Head of the Indonesian Pediatricians’ Association (Ikatan Dokter Anak Indonesia – IDAI) Immunization Task Force, Prof. Dr. dr. Hartono Gunardi, Sp.A(K), declares that routine complete immunization (RCI) is effective in increasing immunity and prevent IPD among children. “If a child skips a vaccination, or has not been administered with a certain vaccine because of various reasons, their parents should try to get catch-up vaccination and complete their immunization regime. Catch-up immunization can be administered simultaneously with routine immunization. In other words, the child can get more than one vaccine injection at one time. For example, in the case of hexavalent vaccine, which combines the DPT (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), Hib (Type B Haemophilus influenzae), hepatitis B, and polio vaccination. They are administered with a distance of 2.5 cm between each type of injections. Multiple vaccination is proven to be safe, effective, and efficient,” he said. 

Since mid-2022, the Ministry of Health has increased the number of mandatory routine immunizations from 11 to 14 antigens, i.e. by adding the PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) to prevent pneumonia, the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, and the Rotavirus vaccine to prevent rotavirus-related diarrhea into the regime. The PVC vaccination scheme targets 2,524,245 babies and 500,914 children two years in age, the HPV vaccination scheme targets 2,722,311 girls in the 5 and 6 Grades of Elementary School, and the Rotavirus targets 196,876 babies 1 week old, and administering the second dose for the same babies at an age of 8 weeks and third dose at an age of 12 weeks. 

Health SGDs 

At the same event, Minister of Health Director of Immunization Management, dr. Prima Yosephine, MKM, declared that in order to resolve challenges relating to the ensuring national coverage of immunizations, the Government continues to accelerate the administration of vaccination, by ensuring that all citizens have the same access to the scheme, according to a stipulated immunization administration schedule. It also institutes catch-up immunization programs for children with incomplete immunization status or those who have never been immunized. 

Read: World Malaria Day – The challenges in achieving the target of malaria elimination

“The end purpose of WIW commemoration is to ensure that more children, teens, and adults are protected from diseases that can be prevented with immunization and live a happier, healthier life. This is why we institute catch-up immunization to ensure that children whose immunization regime is interrupted because of the pandemic can become healthier. Immunization is the best investment in global healthcare, and it contributes to 14 out of 17 Health Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). We can only ensure the success of the national immunization program by getting the people to realize that it is a safe and effective solution in disease prevention,” dr. Prima said. 

Prevention is always a better and more economic action than therapy, and immunization is a primary means of disease prevention. For further information concerning RCI programs, contact your nearest health facilities. (est)

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