The Indonesian Ministry of Health will introduce a new immunization program, and a pentavalent vaccine for babies aged 2 months to 1 year.
One shot of the pentavalent vaccine will prevent babies from five diseases at once, including Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae Type B.
The pentavalent vaccine, produced by Bio Farma, has been in development since 2007. The product will be launched along with the new immunization program by the Ministry of Health on August 22nd, in Lapangan Karang Pawitan Kabupaten Karawang.
The combination of five antigens is possible due to the similar schedule for 2, 3 & 4 month old babies. With the pentavalent vaccine, babies will require only one shot which contains the five antigens.
Babies are currently given two shots in one period of time, the DTPHB and HIB vaccines. Some babies require three shots, DPT, Hepatitis B and HIB vaccines.
The Production Director of Bio Farma, Juliman, said besides lowering the frequency of babies' shots, the pentavalent vaccine leads to greater efficiencies. "The use of pentavalent vaccine is expected to diminish production costs, cold chain costs, injector costs, and encourage health officers to be efficient. This cost efficiency will translate to affordability for the people."
Juliman added that with the various advantages, the use of pentavalent vaccine is projected to become a future trend for vaccine producers in developing countries.
Juliman spoke during the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), held at Bio Farma on August 21st.
Bio Farma has held clinical trials for the pentavalent vaccine since 2010. The vaccine has passed the phase III clinical trial process, ensuring its efficacy for humans.
The trial was conducted with Hasan Sadikin Hospital / Medical Faculty of Padjajaran University and Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital / Medical Faculty of Indonesian University. Pentavalent has also been registered with the National Agency of Drug & Food Control (NADFC).
"This year we will produce and supply the vaccine to four provinces, West Java, Bali, NTB and Yogyakarta, while later we will be able to produce and fulfill the demand of all provinces of Indonesia," said Juliman.
He predicted that the pentavalent vaccine demand in Indonesia will reach 15 million doses a year, based on the average number of babies' births in Indonesia of 5 million per year.
Besides fulfilling domestic demand, Bio Farma plans to export the vaccine to the other countries after the vaccine passes the WHO prequalification assessment, a requirement for the vaccine to be accepted internationally.