COVID-19 pandemic affects children's immunization program: Ministry

COVID-19 pandemic affects children's immunization program: Ministry

Director of Surveillance and Health Quarantine of the Health Ministry R. Vensya Sitohang held a press conference with the Task Force for Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling in Jakarta on Monday (June 8, 2020). ANTARA/Katriana/sh

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Health Ministry highlighted the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the immunization program for infants and children nationwide.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on the implementation of the immunization program," the ministry's Director of Surveillance and Health Quarantine, R. Vensya Sitohang, stated during a press conference with the Task Force for Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling in Jakarta on Monday.

Sitohang remarked that almost 83.9 percent of health services, particularly the vaccination program, were halted owing to the pandemic.

"It means health services for immunization could not be conducted. We know the impact of suspending vaccination for children," she stated, adding that health services were reportedly suspended in nearly all districts.

The ministry recorded that the trend of basic vaccination for children in April had declined from that in April 2019.

"There was no reported impact yet in January and February. However, a significant decline of almost 4.7 percent was recorded in April, as compared to the coverage in 2019," she pointed out.

Despite the national immunization coverage having met its target, the government will require to accrue more comprehensive data on children that had yet to be vaccinated in each province, district/city, sub-district, and village.

"There is a need to implement a strategy wherein Public Health Services (Puskesmas) know all children by name, address, and vaccination that they require," Sitohang added. Related news: Toddler in Jember, East Java, contracts COVID-19 infection from father
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