Jakarta (ANTARA) - Supplements cannot replace immunization in preventing the transmission of infectious diseases such as measles, polio, diphtheria, and pertussis, according to a member of the immunization task force of the Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) Soedjatmiko.

"Supplements need to be given, but they cannot replace the function of immunization, no matter what the supplement is, including breast milk," he stressed at a health discussion, which was followed from here on Thursday.

According to Soedjatmiko, immunization stimulates the formation of specific immunity. For example, the measles vaccine stimulates immunity so that the body is ready to face the measles virus.

He further explained that if the measles virus attacks a child who has been immunized against measles, the child will be better protected because their body will already have antibodies against the virus.

Meanwhile, supplements, food, and exclusive breastfeeding cannot produce specific antibodies. Therefore, they can only speed up the recovery process when a child has an illness but cannot serve as a substitute for immunization.

"Indeed, they are beneficial. When (children are) sick, they can accelerate recovery. Yet, they cannot replace (immunization). There are no specific antibodies in breast milk, only general antibodies," he explained.

According to him, countries with good nutritional levels, which promote exclusive breastfeeding, still provide immunization to their people.

Therefore, he advised parents to complete their children's immunization schedules in accordance with the direction of the Ministry of Health.

In addition, he highlighted that parents must ensure the implementation of a clean and healthy lifestyle because most infectious diseases infect people through the nose and mouth.

"By washing hands, we can prevent it (transmission). However, what is most important is immunization," he noted.

"Therefore, let us complete the immunization of our children and grandchildren, our nephews, because the most effective prevention, so far, (based on) research in all countries, is immunization," he added.

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Translator: Suci Nurhaliza, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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