Jakarta. Parents who suspect that their children have been given fake vaccines are demanding that the government issue an official explanation about their health effects, instead of sticking to unofficial claims that the counterfeit vaccines pose no health risks at all.
Tests conducted by the Food and Drug Monitoring Ageny (BPOM) show some of the fake vaccines contained regular vaccine mixed with insulin.
If only a small amount is injected, the counterfeit vaccines will not have any side effect, the Health Ministry has said.
"We need official statements from the government," said Imam Subali, the parents' representative, in a meeting with the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Tuesday (20/07).
"This would help ensure that hospitals administering the fake vaccines can be held responsible if the patients suffer ill-effects later," Imam told the lawmakers.
The chairman of the House's Commission IX — which oversees health and manpower affairs, Dede Yusuf said, "The fake vaccines are not necessarily dangerous but the production did not follow hygienic standards."
Tuesday's meeting came five days after the Health Ministry revealed the names of 14 hospitals, most of which are located in Bekasi, West Java, that have allegedly administered counterfeit vaccines.
Shortly after the revelation, enraged parents besieged some of the hospitals, demanding they provide data on patients that have been been given fake vaccines, conduct medical check-ups and perform revaccination if necessary.
The fake vaccine revelation prompted the House to agree last week on establishing a special mechanism to supervise the distribution of vaccines and other medicines in Indonesia.
Late last month, a joint task force made up of officials from the Health Ministry, the National Police and the BPOM was formed to crack down on the fake vaccine distribution ring.