– Mass vaccination campaign conducted by Indonesian authorities with IVI support protects nearly 1 million children from JE

– Partners join forces to measure long-term vaccine effectiveness to accelerate JE vaccine’s introduction in Indonesia and other Asian endemic regions

 

We are pleased to announce that after decades of IVI support, the Indonesian authorities successfully conducted a Japanese encephalitis (JE) mass vaccination campaign in Bali in March/April 2018; followed by a vaccine effectiveness investigation, which is ongoing. This story was published in a Lancet article last week: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31191-7/fulltext

The late Prof. Zhi-Yi Xu (former senior scientist at IVI) and his team were instrumental in identifying Japanese encephalitis (JE) to be a major cause of acute encephalitis in Bali in the early 2000s. With support from KOICA, surveillance was initiated and the results led to a policymakers’ meeting in 2008, paving the way for the introduction of JE vaccines into the Balinese routine immunization program. Progress then stalled for several years. However, IVI’s Epidemiology Team continued to work with the Indonesian authorities and the WHO country office to restart surveillance and advocated for conducting vaccination. Finally, in March and April 2018, the vaccination campaign was executed, thereby helping protect almost a million Balinese children from a deadly disease. JE vaccines are now given routinely with measles/rubella vaccination at 9 months of age. A multi-year surveillance program to determine long-term JE vaccine effectiveness, conducted by Indonesian authorities, the WHO in Geneva, and IVI, is currently underway.

“IVI’s JE program has been a showcase of the results of continuous effort to combat a major vaccine-preventable disease, starting from detecting the pathogen and quantifying the disease burden, providing surveillance data to ascertain the at-risk population, and continuously advocating for the need of vaccination,” said Dr. Florian Marks, the head of IVI’s Epidemiology team. “The ongoing JE vaccine effectiveness study will inform health authorities of the long-term effectiveness of JE vaccination in Bali to facilitate future JE vaccine introductions into Indonesia’s national immunization program as well as those of other JE-endemic Asian regions.”

IVI is grateful to partners involved, including the Bali Provincial Health Office, the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the WHO country office and Headquarters, PATH, US CDC, and Korea-based donors including KOICA, LG Electronics, the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Kim & Chang, and Rotary International District 3640 for their contributions.