Govt focusing on building herd immunity quickly to contain pandemic

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government has said it will continue to accelerate efforts to achieve herd immunity in order to bring down the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the country.

"For example, by increasing the number of locations for COVID-19 vaccination en masse," said Health Ministry's spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccination, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, during a discussion on the Alinea Forum entitled ‘Roadmap to Herd Immunity’, here on Wednesday.

To achieve herd immunity, the government has taken several steps, including cooperating with the private sector and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to carry out mass vaccinations, she pointed out.

The Health Ministry realizes that efforts to speed up vaccinations depend not only on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, but also on the number of vaccinators, she said.

Therefore, the government is continuing to increase the number of vaccinators and collaborate with private clinical associations as well as health service facilities managed by ministries and agencies, she added.

Furthermore, the government is expecting to increase the number of vaccine recipients to more than 500 thousand people per day, she said.

Meanwhile, director of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Amin Soebandrio, has said that herd immunity can be influenced by several factors, such as the number of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine and the efficacy of the vaccine itself.

Then, the duration taken to build an immune response after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would also affect the effectiveness of the vaccination, he added.

"It's a long protection. In fact, we are currently facing new challenges with new mutations. Therefore, we must keep pace (with the development of mutations by speeding up vaccinations)," said Tarmizi.

She said she hopes Indonesia can achieve herd immunity quickly before the new B1.1.7 variant spreads in Indonesia.

"(The new variant of the virus) is still a small population of the virus that was found. But, it doesn't rule out that the new coronavirus will increase in number. So, we have to speed up vaccination to break the current chain of transmission. We must reach herd immunity as soon as possible," said Amin.

Meanwhile, a member of Commission IX of the House of Representatives (DPR), Adang Sudrajat, has said that there are many steps that need to be improved to achieve herd immunity, including expanding the mass vaccination program.

He has also suggested that the government prioritize productive age groups in the vaccination program, especially those who have a high level of mobility. By prioritizing those groups, he said he is optimistic that the rate of COVID-19 transmission can be reduced.

Source: Antara News

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