The Ministry of Health held National Immunization Week (PIN) for Polio from 8-15 March 2016 for free. PIN is held simultaneously in all provinces, except the Province of Special Region of Yogyakarta due to immunization coverage that has exceeded the national target. The government is targeting national immunization coverage to 95 per cent, while in this province immunization coverage has reached 98 percent. In addition, Yogyakarta has a good environmental surveillance and no wild polio virus.
Pediatrician from UGM Academic Hospital, dr. Fita Wirastuti, M.Sc., Sp.A., said that since 2007, the province did not use polio vaccine drops/oral but Inactived Polio Vaccine or an injection polio vaccine. This vaccine is an inactive polio virus which would be injected to infants.
"Beginning in 2007, Yogyakarta already incorporated injectable polio vaccine into the immunization program," she said, Thursday (10/3).
Injectable polio vaccine has become mandatory immunization program here. The vaccine is given three times at the 9 months basic immunization, which is at ages 2, 3, and 4 months. Furthermore, the vaccine will be given back as a booster at 18 months and 2 years of age.
"So, for mothers who have children under five in the province, they do not have to participate because the immunization polio vaccine program has become mandatory in the province," she explained.
Fita says that polio immunization is held simultaneously throughout the province for infants aged 0-59 months old as a form of commitment to eradicate polio globally by 2020. The polio vaccine is expected to prevent Indonesian children from contracting the polio virus and to maintain Indonesia’s polio-free status since 2014.
"Although the WHO has certified Indonesia as polio-free, but the risk of the spread of this disease is still quite high. As long as wild polio virus still exists in the world, the risk of contagion of polio still exists," she explained.
Polio is an infectious disease caused by infection of poliomyelitis virus. This viral infection can cause permanent paralysis and even death. The spread of this virus is through contact with food, drink and saliva.
Fita says Indonesia is still in a high risk of polio through importation from other countries which is not polio free yet. Currently, there are two countries in the world not free from polio, namely Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, efforts to prevent the reemergence of polio, polio immunization needs to be done. The reason is, there are a number of regions in Indonesia, especially the eastern part of Indonesia, having low polio immunization coverage.
"This immunization is expected to increase the immunity of children to raise the quality of life and health of the public," she said.