A shot in the arm for COVID efforts


With the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine administered without any adverse incident, President Joko Widodo received the second vaccine jab at the Merdeka Palace on January 27, 2021, 14 days after the first shot.

“After the first vaccination on January 13 (2021), two weeks ago, today, I got the second shot of the vaccine. Similar to the first one two weeks ago, I did not feel anything. Only some muscle aches after two hours, and I can engage in normal activities,” Jokowi remarked after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.

The Head of State also reminded people to not become lax in observing the health protocols even after receiving the vaccines.

Widodo decided to be the first to receive the vaccine in the country to demonstrate its safety to the people. Indonesia’s immunization program has been rolled out with Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, which has been the first and only vaccine to arrive in the country so far, although vaccines have been ordered from several companies from different countries.

The initial phase of the vaccination program is targeted at doctors and nurses, and at least 250 thousand of them have been vaccinated so far.

The ministry is targeting to inoculate 1.48 million medical workers, and of the total target, 1.45 million have been re-registered for the vaccination.

After healthcare workers, the next targeted group comprises military and police personnel, as well as public service officers. By mid-February, 2021, people in general, particularly those aged between 18 and 58 years old, could start getting the vaccine. The government is targeting to inoculate 181.5 million people free of charge. In order to reach the target in a year, the government will need to inoculate up to one million citizens in a day, the Head of State estimated.

“With more than 30 thousand vaccinators in 10 thousand community health centers (Puskesmas) and three thousand hospitals, we hope that 900 thousand to one million people would be vaccinated. However, this will need time and good management, as I always tell the Health Minister,” President Widodo stated.

The government has ordered 329.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, US-Canada firm Novavax, British firm AstraZeneca, and joint US-Germany pharmaceutical firm Pfizer BioNTech.

Any vaccine used in the country needs to have at least 60 percent efficacy, or higher than the 50-percent efficacy requirement set by the WHO.

Head of the Indonesian Doctors Association Board, Daeng Mohammad Faqih, has said vaccinations are vital for health workers as they come face to face with patients everyday.

The association is ready to assist medical health workers facing difficulties in getting the shots, he added.

“For our colleagues who face difficulties in accessing the vaccine, please contact your local branch of the association to be given access to register yourself for the vaccine, in order to ensure that the process goes smoothly,” he stated.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has also urged medical workers, who are yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to get the shot without delay.

“This [administration of the second dose] has demonstrated that the first batch of vaccination can be completed fast and to motivate other medical workers in Indonesia to get the vaccine for those, who have yet to receive the first jab,” Sadikin, who received his second shot of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine along with President Widodo, said.

“The antibody will be formed one or two weeks after vaccination, and Insya Allah (God willing), they can work more comfortably because medical workers are among those at higher risk (of COVID-19),” he remarked.

Sadikin pointed out that the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has surpassed one million as of January 26, 2021.

The minister urged the public to continue to adhere to health protocols while the government works towards curbing new infections by intensifying tracing, testing, and treatment of patients.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, has revealed that 179 thousand out of the targeted 1.48 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across Indonesia as of January 25, 2021.

Indonesia is among the ASEAN member states to roll out a COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the start of this year, Hartarto stated.

The minister said the first phase of the free COVID-19 vaccine program, from January to April, 2021, will focus on 1.3 million medical workers, 17.4 million public service officers, and 21.5 million senior citizens.

The second phase of the program, from April, 2021 to March, 2022, will cover 63.9 million vulnerable people living in areas with the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission and another 77.4 million people.

The Indonesian government is targeting to create herd immunity. To achieve this end, the government has taken several steps, including setting a target of vaccinating 181.5 million out of the country’s 271 million population against COVID-19.

“Herd immunity will be achieved if the efficacy of the vaccine is a minimum of 50 percent or 60 percent. Thus, the vaccine coverage must be 100 percent,” director of communicable diseases prevention and control at the Health Ministry, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, said during an online discussion recently.



Source: Antara News

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