Indonesia Initiates Mass Booster Vaccination Shots Amidst Rising Covid-19 Cases

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In response to the recent upswing in Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) in Indonesia is swiftly taking steps to counteract the trend. Therefore, Kemenkes is gearing up for a widespread rollout of booster vaccination for Covid-19, as shared by Azhar Jaya, the Director-General of Health Services.

“We are preparing to launch mass booster vaccination for the public, focusing particularly on administering the third booster shot,” mentioned Azhar during a statement in Jakarta on Tuesday (12/2), as reported by detikhealth.

Azhar highlighted that this vaccination initiative would initially prioritize areas grappling with a notably high rate of Covid-19 transmission. Jakarta, experiencing a surge of over 40 percent in cases within a week, stands out as one such area set for intensified efforts.

Additionally, imminent antibody surveys will be conducted to gauge the existing level of immunity against Covid-19 within the community.

Despite the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, Azhar pointed out that the bed occupancy rate (BOR) remains relatively low at present. He emphasized that the current scenario differs from the earlier waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recent reports indicated a noticeable uptick in the trend of Covid-19 cases. The Ministry of Health documented a substantial 58.9 percent increase between October and November 2023.

Confirming the impact of the recent Covid-19 wave, the Jakarta Health Department reported two fatalities. These unfortunate incidents involved individuals with pre-existing health conditions who had not completed their vaccination regimen.

The surge in cases is attributed to the Omicron subvariants EG.5 and EG.2, commonly referred to as Eris. Eris has contributed to an escalation of cases in neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

Despite Eris gaining recent attention, its presence has been monitored since May 2023. While the mutation has rendered SARS-CoV-2 milder, caution is warranted. Medical experts emphasize that Eris remains a threat, particularly for individuals with underlying health issues who are not fully vaccinated.

“[Virus mutations] continue to pose a threat to individuals with underlying health conditions, as these conditions may become uncontrollable,” cautioned Dr. Erlang Samoedro, a pulmonologist, in a recent statement quoted from CNNIndonesia.