Details of the "Prohibition" of this vaccine threatens the spread of measles in Indonesia
After the priests announced that the measles vaccine contained gelatin extracted from pigs, which made it a "sin", the measles rate was expected to increase in Indonesia.
The announcement reduced measles vaccination rates in the Southeast Asian country from the recommended level, from 95% to less than 8%.
Health experts are concerned that Indonesia will suffer from a measles epidemic, and that measles can also cause birth defects if pregnant women are infected with the virus.
Gelatin is added as a stabilizer for many vaccines and medicines to prevent damage during transportation. To date, Indonesia is one of the most listed measles countries in the world, according to the World Health Organization, and although self-generated vaccines fight infection as part of childhood immunization schemes, the vaccine is incomplete.
In 2006, the Southeast Asian country followed the WHO plan to eradicate measles and rubella by 2020.
However, the path of the plan was hampered after the Indonesian Islamic Ulema Council stated that it was not considered "lawful".
Parents immediately abolished their children's vaccinations, with only 6 of the 38 students in primary schools in Sumatra receiving the measles vaccine.
Some parents gather outside the school to ensure that their children are not vaccinated, while others claim that their children must stay at home because they don't get the vaccine.
With the elimination of parents to vaccinate their children, the Indonesian Ministry of Health pressed the law to issue a fatwa to decipher the vaccine in August, but the council declared it "haraam" or "sinful" because it contained gelatin extracted from pork skin as a stabilizer.
The vaccine also contains Trypsin which is extracted from pigs, which prevents the vaccine component from sticking to its glass container during its manufacture.
The Indonesian Islamic Ulama Council (UIA) stressed that it did not hinder the vaccination campaign, suggesting that the choice was for children's parents if they wanted to do it. But the consequences of the fatwa have already taken place. Only 68 percent of children on the islands around Java have been vaccinated so far, according to the Ministry of Health, and in Aceh, which is governed by Islamic law, the vaccination rate is only 8 percent.
A spokesman for the WHO office in the capital Jakarta said vaccination rates were bad in many parts of the country.
WHO remains positive about plans to immunize 95 percent of children in Indonesia against measles and rubella, and the deadline for vaccines has been extended to December.
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