Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Ministry of Health on Monday (Feb. 8) started vaccinating 11,600 health workers aged 60 years old and above throughout Indonesia.
This step was taken after the Food and Drug Administration (BPOM) on Sunday (Feb. 7) officially issued a permit to use the COVID-19 CoronaVac vaccine from a Chinese pharmaceutical company, Sinovac, for the elderly group aged 60 years old and above.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said BPOM issued an emergency permit for the use of CoronaVac for the elderly based on the third phase of clinical trials in China and Brazil.
“It is very important for the government to prioritize elderly health workers because of the double risk, namely their professions that are prone to COVID-19 and their vulnerable ages,” he told a virtual press conference on Sunday (Feb. 7).
The elderly group will receive the vaccination in two doses with an interval of 28 days. The first dose serves to introduce the inactivated virus (inactive virus) into the body so that the vaccine can work together with the body to form new antibodies.
Meanwhile, the second dose of vaccine acts as a booster or increases the strength of the vaccine so that the antibodies that have been formed are stronger and more optimal.
In parallel, the government will also start vaccinating the elderly of the non-health worker category.
About 10 percent of Indonesia’s population is in the elderly group, and more than 50 percent of deaths from COVID-19 belong to this group.
Giving vaccination to the elderly can reduce mortality and also decrease the burdens of hospitals in the hope that the hospitalization rate and the bed occupancy ratio can lessen.
Reporting by Indonesia Window