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Polio vaccination drive largely successful JAKARTA - 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. The Indonesian health ministry reported the campaign had reached 90 percent of children under five years old despite lingering concerns among both parents and medical workers about the safety of the vaccine.

After Indonesia carried out a regional immunization drive earlier this year on the western end of Java island, local media reported the vaccine had sickened several children, killing four. Health officials stressed that the vaccine was completely safe, even for ill children, but many parents vowed to keep their youngsters from participating in last Tuesday's nationwide drive.

Most parents who rebuffed vaccinators last week claimed their children were sick and thus unfit to be immunized. Ignoring the advice of international health experts, even some doctors declined to vaccinate children because they were unwell, according to U.N. officials. With Indonesia now planning another nationwide drive in three weeks to provide booster vaccines and immunize those children who were missed last week, health officials said they would step up efforts to intensify training for medical workers and volunteers.

Indonesia had been free of polio for a decade when a traveler from the Middle East carried the virus to Java island early this year. Since March, Indonesia has recorded the highest rate of new cases in the world. The disease has infected at least 230 people, spreading from the mountains of western Java to the adjacent island of Sumatra and the capital, Jakarta.

According to health ministry figures, the results of the vaccination drive were disappointing in Banten, one of the hardest hit provinces, where more than a fifth of the children under five were not immunized. Other provinces with outbreaks, including Jakarta, fared closer to the national average.

The campaign confronted not only widespread rumors about safety but the mammoth challenge of delivering the vaccine across the sprawling archipelago. Though thousands of health workers were dispatched, many by boat and aircraft, to reach remote settlements, vaccinators missed many children in these areas. For instance, on Irian Jaya, the impoverished, mountainous island at the far east of Indonesia, fewer than half the children were immunized, according to ministry figures.

As the outbreak spreads in Indonesia, U.N. health officials have started warning the virus could jump borders, infecting other countries in a region that had been entirely free of polio. On Monday, state-run media in Vietnam reported that 2.3 million children in that country would be immunized against polio as a precaution. The effort would target youngsters under five years old living in border provinces and other villages deemed to be at high risk.


Related blog entries (category 'Polio') Related blog entries (category 'Polio'):
30 August 2005 · UN health agency reports massive polio vaccination campaign
28 August 2005 · Polio vaccination campaign hampered by rumours, ignorance
26 August 2005 · Rupiah set for biggest drop in 4 years on oil surge
24 August 2005 · U.N. warns of possible Indonesia polio epidemic
08 August 2005 · Polio cases hit 205 in Indonesia, two in capital


Posted in Polio @ 06 September 2005 07:09 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Jeroen
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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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Jeroen
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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.


Continue reading , click the title



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