by Dames Alexander Sinaga
JAKARTA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia has planned to produce at least 35 million doses of vaccines by the end of 2023 in a bid to mitigate the re-emergence of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which is damaging its livestock industry and affecting market price stability.
More than 20 provinces in Indonesia were now hit by the foot-and-mouth disease, which is one of the world's worst animal plagues, with more than 460,000 livestock animals infected and more than 4,700 related animal deaths, showed data from the National FMD Task Force.
The Southeast Asian country had been free of FMD since 1986, a status recognized internationally by the World Organization for Animal Health in 1990, but it re-emerged with first cases confirmed in the province of East Java in April.
Indonesia's neighboring countries, including Australia and New Zealand, were concerned and imposed travel restrictions on their citizens since the FMD can spread by mechanical transfer via fomites apart from by direct contact with animals, animal products, as well as by the airborne route.
At present, Indonesia is trying to reduce the spread of the viral disease by temporarily providing impacted livestock farmers with imported vaccines, medicines, antibiotics and veterinary consultation service, while developing its own FMD vaccine whose initial massive production is expected in September.
The Task Force chief Suharyanto told local media on Thursday that the government had demanded the local veterinary vaccine producer Pusvetma produce 35.3 million doses by the end of next year. "We think this will fulfill the domestic demand," said Suharyanto, who like many Indonesians uses one name only.
Two weeks ago, head of the Veterinary Farma Center (Pusvetma) Edy Budi Susila said the development of the vaccine had entered the purification stage, and that Pusvetma was expected to produce 200,000 doses when the vaccine was launched.
He expressed optimism that Pusvetma will be able to produce 1 million doses by the end of this year and is ready to cooperate with private vaccine producers in a bid to boost the output.
So far, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture has reportedly imported more than 51.8 million vaccine doses worth about 87 million U.S. dollars. These vaccines come from countries including France, Brazil and China, and more than 1 million livestock animals have been vaccinated with the imported vaccines across the country.
Spokesperson for the Task Force Wiku Adisasmito said at a press conference here on Thursday that Indonesian authorities were able to control the FMD outbreak and would continue to support affected farmers.
"We've also assured international communities that Indonesia is able to mitigate this outbreak," he said. ■