The government has decided to provide health professionals the third dose of the Moderna vaccine as a booster for their protection.
This decision comes after Indonesia entitles to receive four million COVID-19 vaccines from US-based pharmaceutical Moderna under the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, an initiative for vaccine equity lead by GAVI and World Health Organization(WHO). These vaccines would first be administered to the health workers. The Indonesian Food and Drugs Administration (BPOM) has issued an emergency use authorization Moderna vaccine on July 2.
Sadikin explained why the booster dose of vaccine prioritized the health workers and did not cover the significant population. He said, "they encounter high levels of viruses every day, we must protect them so that their performance remains good," reported Nikkei Asia. Further, he said the program focused on providing "maximum immunity against the existing COVID-19 mutation variants."
The Jakarta Post reports by the approval of the Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI) and the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), the booster program was initiated, claimed Sadikin.
The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Indonesia began on January 13, 2021, with health personnel being vaccinated. According to an independent data group, Lapor COVID-19 reported Reuters on July 7, around 131 health workers had lost their lives to COVID-19 in June, including 50 in July. The health workers were mainly administered with the vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company.
The Indonesian Hospitals Association (IHA) said that 95 percent of the health workers were fully vaccinated. With the surge in cases in Indonesia, the efficiency of the Sinovac vaccine is questioned by medical professionals. Slamet Budiarto, deputy chief of the Indonesian Medical Association(IDI), expressed that "There's a lot of doctors and medical workers who have been vaccinated twice but endured medium and severe symptoms, or even died," reported Reuters.
On July 11, 2021, a supply of 3,000,060 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the U.S. government arrived at Soekarno Hatta International Airport. The vaccines will be prioritized for booster immunizations for medical personnel, specified the Ministry of Health. Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikian said, ''Health workers are under tremendous pressure, especially in the second wave of transmission of this pandemic, so we want to make sure they are protected to the maximum.'' (translated from Indonesian)
Given the restricted availability of vaccines and more than 160 million people eligible for vaccination have yet to receive an injection, the Ministry of Health has highlighted on August 1 that the booster is not intended for the general public.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.