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The government cannot fulfil its second phase target for immunisation against measles-rubella. The Indonesian Pediatricians Association has noted 699 cases of measles and rubella up to September this year. The Indonesian Ulama Council accused the Ministry of Health for being lax in requesting a change of their fatwa (edict) that declared vaccination was haram (illegal in Islam). Now preachers Abdul Somad and Mamah Dedeh have been roped in.
The second-stage measles (M) and rubella (R) immunization in 28 provinces outside the island of Java fell short of its goal. As of last Tuesday morning, only 49.07 percent of 32 million children had been vaccinated. According to the Presidential Staff Office, this shortfall may cause Indonesia to find itself in a measles emergency. Even with an immunization rate of 75 percent, there have been 142,000 cases of infection resulting in 1,945 fatalities.
The second phase of the national measles-rubella (MR) vaccination program is on the brink of failure amid the public’s anti-vaccine sentiments. By the middle of last week, the program, run throughout August and September, only managed to achieve 49.07 percent coverage of the 95 percent to be achieved by the end of September. The regions with the low coverage rate of below 30 percent are South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Bangka Belitung, West Nusa Tenggara, West Sumatra and Riau with Aceh topping the list with 4.94 percent.