JAKARTA, Dec. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- The Indonesian government had planned to vaccinate some
47 million people who had any connection with poultry in an attempt
to prevent the possible mutation of the virus that causes Avian
Influenza, the Jakarta Post reported on Saturday.
Minister of Health Siti Fadilah Supari was quoted as saying here on Friday that
the government should vaccinate high-risk people with human influenza vaccine
during the current flu endemic, which was expected to last until next
However, "the government does not have the money to vaccinate some 47
million high-risk people. It will cost some five trillion rupiahs (nearly 500
million US dollars)," she told a seminar on bird flu here.
The World Health Organization has urged governments to act swiftly to
control the spread of bird flu, warning that the world is in grave danger of a
deadly pandemic triggered by the virus, which has killed nearly 70 people in
Asia, eight of them in Indonesia.
Siti warned that a new strain of the H5N1 virus might develop should it come
into contact with human influenza. Therefore, Siti called on physicians nationwide
to be on full alert for the spread of the virus.
Presently 23 out of 33 provinces across the country have reported bird flu
cases in poultry. Human deaths from the virus have so far occurred in Jakarta,
Banten and West Java.
Siti believes there are more bird flu cases in humans in other parts of the
"Regional authorities may not be aware of the presence of bird flu in their
jurisdictions. Therefore, please be vigilant for patients who suffer severe
pneumonia. Check whether there have been poultry deaths around them," she said.
WHO has confirmed 14 cases of bird flu infection in humans in Indonesia, of whom eight died. With a population of 220 million, Indonesia has declared an "extraordinary situation" against bird flu. Enditem