Jakarta (ANTARA) - Achieving herd immunity is the ultimate goal of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) handling in Indonesia, according to the FMD Handling Task Force’s expert team coordinator, Wiku Adisasmito.

"In principle, FMD handling is similar to COVID-19 handling as we seek to achieve herd immunity," he said on the sidelines of a national coordinating meeting on FMD here on Wednesday.

Herd immunity can be achieved through high FMD vaccination coverage among vulnerable animals, he said, adding that the higher the vaccination rate, the lower will be the infection rate.

At least 6.6 million animals considered vulnerable to the disease have received the vaccine, however, efforts must continue to be made to expedite vaccination coverage, he said.

"Yet some regions, such as Bali, which hosted the G20 Summit, have recorded above 85 percent coverage," Adisasmito noted.

The large number of imported vaccines and discrepancy in vaccine supply and demand have been some challenges to efforts to bolster vaccination coverage, he pointed out.

"(Vaccines were imported) from many countries, yet we could not fulfill the vaccine demand swiftly. Moreover, we needed time to procure the vaccines," he said.

The expert team coordinator also underlined that FMD vaccine administration is more complicated compared to the COVID-19 vaccine as animal health officers have to visit each animal that needs to be inoculated.

Of the 29 million FMD vaccines that have been imported, around 10 million have arrived in Indonesia and have been distributed to regions, Adisasmito informed.

A domestic FMD vaccine is currently under development and production at the Agriculture Ministry's Centre for Pharma Veterinary, he added.

"It ought to be distributed and used soon because the existing vaccine stocks -- the imported ones -- must also be used," he said.

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Translator: Suci Nurhaliza, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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