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Muslim body supports polio vaccinations JAKARTA - Indonesia's top Muslim body gave its seal of approval on Friday to next week's plan by the government to immunise more than 24 million children with polio vaccines next week. The support could dispel any doubts about the vaccines which may deter people from going to immunisation posts in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, following an outbreak of the crippling disease.

Rumours the vaccine would cause infertility and spread HIV/AIDS disrupted polio vaccinations in Nigeria in 2003. The vaccinations were suspended for months after hardline Islamic preachers told parents they were dangerous and part of a U.S. plot against Muslims. "The edict is ... allowed," Ichwan Sam of the influential Indonesian Ulemas Concil (MUI) told a news conference.

"This has been conveyed to Islamic clerics and they promised that they would not make a problem over it because the vaccine is to strengthen the next generation," Sam added. Polio returned in May to Indonesia, which had been free of the water-borne disease since 1995. A 25-year-old man who had the virus has died but officials are still investigating whether the crippling illness was the cause of death.

The outbreak first hit villages near West Java's Sukabumi and spread to adjacent provinces. The number of cases has now hit 225, with the latest -- in the outer province of Lampung province on Sumatra island -- prompting the mass vaccination drive. Sam said some local clerics had questioned the substance of the vaccines, triggering doubts whether they could be deemed as Haram -- outlawed by Islam -- or Halal which means the opposite.

The U.S.-based Centres For Disease Control, a working partner for the immunisation programmes, said they had received endorsement from leading clerics in Islamic kingdom Saudi Arabia and Muslim- majority Egypt. "This vaccine has been declared extremely safe and also halal and of course from the public health perspective these ulemas have said that a vaccine that can prevent five million cases of paralysis over a 10-year period cannot be haram," Hamid S.Jafari told the same news conference.

Indonesia's government along with WHO and the United Nations children's agency UNICEF plan to kick off the nationwide vaccination programme on Aug. 30, with the second round on Sept. 27, involving some 750,000 vaccinators at 245,000 immunisation posts. Officials have said if the immunisations reach every child targetted, that should stop the outbreak of the illness.

Many Muslim clerics will be involved in the immunisation programme to convince the community, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said.


Link to related event Related event:
Polio in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Polio') Related blog entries (category 'Polio'):
07 August 2008 · Indonesia to execute 39 drug traffickers by 2009
24 August 2005 · U.N. warns of possible Indonesia polio epidemic
08 August 2005 · Polio cases hit 205 in Indonesia, two in capital
29 July 2005 · Indonesia braces for Kawasaki virus


Posted in Polio @ 26 August 2005 18:31 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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34 new polio cases in Indonesia for total of 100


The World Health Organization on Tuesday reported 34 new polio cases in Indonesia, bringing the country's known total to 100. One of the new cases was confirmed on Sumatra, which until last week was polio-free.


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Polio vaccination drive largely successful


Indonesia's nationwide drive last week to vaccinate about 24 million young children against a spreading polio outbreak was largely successful though some parents continued to resist, health officials said Monday.


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