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Indonesia ignores WHO to stock pile anti-bird flu vaccine
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15:58, August 15, 2007

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Indonesia ignored the suggestion of the World Health Organization (WHO) to stock pile its anti-bird flu vaccines, and insisted to use the vaccines after September due to the rise of fatality caused by avian influenza virus in the country, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said here Wednesday.

The WHO wants Indonesia to keep the vaccine and to use them when a pandemic occur.

Minister Supari said that the vaccines would be used after all clinical trials were complete in September.

"We will use the vaccine after September, (as) in September all clinical test finishes," she said.

The number of fatality from the virus has risen to 82 out of 103 cases in Indonesia, the hardest-hit, prompting the health authorities to take stern measures.

The virus has spread to the country's tourist industry center with a death of a woman by the virus on Sunday.

Regarding to the WHO's suggestion, the minister said: "we do not need its (WHO) approval. They have no right to reject."

Minister Supari said that she wanted to discuss the implementation of the vaccination with experts soon.

The minister has said Indonesia in collaboration with the U.S. based drug maker Baxter had already produced two million doses anti bird flu vaccine for human.

The head of research center for anti-bird flu vaccine of the ministry Triono Soendoro said the reason of not meet the WHO suggestion to stock pile the vaccine was because it would take times to use material from stock piling to become vaccine.

"From stock piling to become vaccine, it takes about two months, while the pandemic already occur. That makes us have the idea of vaccination to protect people," he said.

Besides, he noted that the number of cases kept rising in the avian influenza worst-hit country.

Huge territory, traditional way of rising chickens on back yard and lack of obedience of provincial administration in implementing the Jakarta decision to stop the virus spread, are among the obstacles in fighting the bird flu in the country.

Experts fear that millions of people could die should the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus mutate into a certain level that can make it transmittable among humans.

So far, 192 people have died globally out of 319 contracted people, according to the WHO.

Source: Xinhua

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