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FMD vaccination Q&A with MLA’s Indonesian Livestock Services Manager, Helen Fadma

02 May 2023

Back in August 2022 the Australian livestock industry invested in additional on-the-ground measures to further support the Indonesian biosecurity response to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD). MLA provided $1.3 million in funding to an Indonesian FMD vaccine support project enabling importers to purchase up to 600,000 vaccine doses for Australian cattle entering Indonesian feedlots.  Read more about this project here.

Here, MLA’s Indonesian Livestock Services Manager, Helen Fadma shares her insights on how the MLA-funded FMD vaccination program is progressing.

Australia is currently free of FMD and we do not vaccinate for FMD in Australia. However, it’s helpful for our industry to know what progress has been made to vaccinate livestock against FMD in Indonesia.

How is the FMD vaccination of cattle progressing in Indonesia?

So far around 12 million livestock in Indonesia have received an FMD vaccination. Private companies such as feedlots vaccinate their cattle upon arrival in Indonesia using monovalent type vaccines (Aftogen Oleo).

A monovalent vaccine means that the vaccine contains only one strain of the virus (either live, in-active, or killed). The feedlots prefer to use the monovalent vaccines because they think it provides better protection against the FMD virus that is found in Indonesia. Based on the company's research, Aftogen Oleo can provide protection for six months, allowing lot feeders to vaccinate once for feeders (most feeders are fattened for 120–150 days in the feedlots).

While for local cattle, the Government of Indonesia (GOI) allows the supply of vaccines from 10 FMD vaccine companies.

How many cattle have been vaccinated under the MLA-funded Indonesian FMD vaccine support project?

As of April 2023, 144,016 head of cattle have been vaccinated at a total cost of $543,144.

Have there been any challenges with the vaccination of cattle?

The GOI only allowed private companies to purchase FMD vaccines through organisations/lobbying bodies, such as GAPUSPINDO for cattle feedlots. GAPUSPINDO (Indonesia Feedloters Association) has 24 active members.

There are a few other importers/feedlots that aren’t GAPUSPINDO members, and this has created problems for them getting access to FMD vaccines. One way for them to receive the vaccines is through other cattle importers or getting free vaccines from GOI.

The feedlots have also reported various post-vaccination symptoms in their cattle such as:

  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • for dairy a loss in mild production in the 2–3 days post-vaccination.

How would you describe the Indonesian feedlot’s approach to vaccinating cattle for FMD?

The feedlots advised that they would continue to vaccinate their cattle upon arrival because of the importance of protecting cattle from FMD. If in the future there is support from GOI for free vaccines then they will cooperate and vaccinate their cattle based on the vaccines availability or the GOI vaccination program.

Indonesian feedlots have commented that the FMD vaccine support from MLA has been valuable as it helps considerably with overall operating costs.

Furthermore, the feedlots said that the program information given by MLA was clear. There are no issues in the reimbursement process through their exporters, except for the non-GAPUSPINDO members, who are having problems getting reimbursement due to lack of paperwork. Some feedlots prefer that the reimbursement is through their exporters because it is easier to calculate the number of cattle imported, while others prefer the reimbursement directly from MLA.

How have the MLA-funded portable yards helped with the vaccination of cattle?

The portable cattle yards (PCY) are used in five provinces and one Cooperative Villages in Riau, Lampung, West Sumatra, South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, and Cianjur, West Java. Up until April 2023, the PCY have supported animal health services for more than 2,000 head of local cattle including:

  • FMD/LSD vaccination
  • ear tagging
  • health check and disease treatment
  • reproduction services.

The design of PCY means the operator can easily and quickly assemble/dissemble the yards. However, transporting the PCY on rough roads and high terrains can be a challenge. In some areas, the yard panels can be used as a raceway for animal handling, and not just for holding the cattle. Cattle owners and government officials working on animal health services find the PCY very useful and plan to use the yards in more areas in the future.

Portable Cattle Yard (PCY) is used to support an FMD vaccination in Lampung Province.

Vaccination activities carried out by animal health officers in a North Sumatra feedlot.