Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has ordered two thousand doses of the monkeypox vaccine produced by Bavarian Nordic to protect citizens from the virus, Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, has informed.

The country has ordered the vaccines with the assistance of the Indonesian Embassy in Denmark, he informed during a Commission IX Opinion Hearing Meeting (RDP), which was streamed on YouTube on Tuesday.

The Indonesian people are relatively better protected against the risk of contracting a monkeypox infection on account of a smallpox vaccination program rolled out before 1980, he noted.

"People born before 1980 who have undergone smallpox vaccination actually have protection or antibodies against the monkeypox virus because the virus is the same," he explained.

According to Sadikin, the development of antibodies is one of the reasons why incidents of monkeypox in Asia have been relatively lower compared to Europe.

"This is because in Europe, they eliminated smallpox first. Thus, the protection was stopped relatively more quickly compared to in Asia," he said.

Medications that are still relevant to regular pox are adequate to medicate monkeypox patients. What is most important is preventing the monkeypox virus from triggering a secondary infection in the form of pneumonia or meningitis, he remarked.

Globally, the death rate of monkeypox patients is 0.02 percent, with 13 out of 48 thousand patients in 94 countries succumbing to the virus. Africa has reported the most patient deaths, the minister informed.

"Their deaths were not due to the monkeypox virus. Infection usually causes secondary infection in the form of pneumonia (lung infection) or meningitis (brain infection)," he explained.

Monkeypox cases in Asia have been most frequently reported in Australia and Singapore. Meanwhile, regions that have most frequently reported monkeypox outside of Asia are the US and Europe.

Meanwhile, 42 suspected monkeypox cases have been reported in Indonesia so far, one of which has been confirmed to be monkeypox, 38 have been confirmed to not be monkeypox, and 3 others are under scrutiny.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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