Indonesia to vaccinate 300 million poultry

05-09-2006 | |

The Indonesian government plans to vaccinate some 300 million poultry from the bird flu virus, primarily using vaccines imported from China.

The vaccination programme will go ahead in spite of fears from some health officials that bird flu vaccines are not effective.
“The target of the mass vaccination is 300 million chickens,” said Musni Suatmodjo, director of animal health services at the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture.
Indonesia recently imported more than 90 million doses of bird flu vaccine from China.
The H5N2 vaccine being used is should provide protection against the H5N1 strain of the virus, according to health officials.
“The vaccines will be distributed to areas hit by the disease or those potentially hit. We hope the distribution will be completed by December 2006,” said Musni Suatmodjo.
Major poultry vaccination drives will be conducted this month and in February 2007, he said.
Meanwhile, a 2-year-old boy was admitted to hospital in West Java province on Monday suffering from bird flu symptoms, including high fever and respiratory problems.
Bird flu outbreaks have been confirmed in 29 of 33 Indonesian provinces, affecting tens of millions of birds and killing 46 people—the highest death toll in the world.
The government came under fire for its initial slow response after bird flu was first discovered in Indonesia in 2003. The Jakarta government has been reluctant to do widespread culling, partially because it does not want to compensate poultry farmers, and also because of the on-going debate among health officials in Indonesia, and abroad, about whether mass culls are more preferable to vaccines to prevent and contain outbreaks.
Last week, the government launched a national bird flu education drive to teach the country’s 230 million people, in particular rural farmers and their families, about the virus and how to avoid being infected.