Covid-19 Booster Doses for Children Not Yet a Priority
Vaccination coverage is also unevenly distributed across regions. Bali, Jakarta and the Riau Islands have the highest booster-dose coverage at respectively 69 percent, 62 percent and 50 percent.
DEONISIA ARLINTA, KRISTI DWI UTAMI
·4 menit baca
JAKARTA, KOMPAS – The government currently has no intention of issuing a policy to allow children to receive Covid-19 vaccines as a booster dose, as the Covid-19 vaccination program must prioritize increasing coverage of the first and booster doses for adults.
According to Health Ministry data, first-dose vaccine coverage in the country is not yet optimal, while booster dose coverage amongst adults also remains low. As of 3 Aug. 2022, first-dose vaccination reached 170.1 million people, or 63 percent of the population. Meanwhile, booster dose coverage reached 56.4 million people, or 20.8 percent of the total population.
“We have to first focus on second-dose coverage. There are still 299 districts and cities that have yet to reach 70 percent. Coverage of the third or booster dose is also below 30 percent,” director general of disease prevention and control Maxi Rein Rondonuwu of the Health Ministry said in Jakarta on Wednesday (3/8/2022).
Meanwhile, the lowest coverage has been recorded in Papua (8%), West Sulawesi (11%), Maluku (13%) and Southeast Sulawesi (13%).
Vaccination coverage is also unevenly distributed across regions. Bali, Jakarta and the Riau Islands have the highest booster-dose coverage at respectively 69 percent, 62 percent and 50 percent. Meanwhile, the lowest coverage has been recorded in Papua (8%), West Sulawesi (11%), Maluku (13%) and Southeast Sulawesi (13%).
The government’s current priority is therefore to accelerate coverage of the first and booster doses in adults. A booster dose drive for children has not been discussed.
Furthermore, emergency use authorization (EUA) for the pediatric use of Covid-19 vaccines has yet to be issued in the country. Earlier, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) issued an EUA for the Comirnaty vaccine, developed by Pfizer in collaboration with BioNTech, for use as a booster dose for children aged 16-18 years, following its use in a child’s primary vaccination course.
“Most children in Indonesia have received the Sinovac vaccine as a first dose, so they cannot receive the vaccine [Comirnaty] that the BPOM has approved,” said Maxi.
A country must reach high and even vaccination coverage of more than 70 percent to achieve herd immunity.
Meanwhile, in Central Java, although thousands of health workers are ready to receive a second booster dose against Covid-19, those in Batang regency and Semarang municipality, among others, have been unable to receive their doses because they had not received their electronic vaccination ticket.
“In the Pcare application, the e-ticket for the second booster dose has not appeared. While waiting to receive the e-ticket, we first submitted our needs,” Semarang Health Agency head M. Abdul Hakam said on Tuesday.
Around 25,000 health workers in Semarang received their first booster dose more than six months ago and are now eligible to receive a second booster dose.
Covid-19 cases on the rise
Professional development head Masdalina Pane of the Indonesian Epidemiology Association (PAEI) said Indonesia needed to strengthen its Covid-19 handling, as there has been a continuous rise in Covid-19 infections, albeit gradual.
Moreover, it also recorded a 26.67 percent increase in active cases and a 26.85 percent decline in people tested for Covid-19 from the previous week.
According to Health Ministry records as of 1 Aug. 2022, confirmed Covid-19 cases had increased 12.81 percent from the previous week. Moreover, it also recorded a 26.67 percent increase in active cases and a 26.85 percent decline in people tested for Covid-19 from the previous week.
“The rise in Covid-19 cases in Indonesia may be due to the variants of concern [VOC], the Omicron subvariants BA.4, BA.5 and BA.275. Additionally, the increase in cases may also be due to our weakening handling,” said Masdalina.
The effort to control the pandemic required the commitment of both the government and the people. The gold standard in the preventive efforts was the 3M health protocol of mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing. The government must facilitate this effort by providing handwashing facilities and ensuring that masks were available at affordable prices.
Once they had been diagnosed with Covid-19, the affected person must also act in a disciplined manner by self-isolating and entering quarantine.
Other efforts included the 3T protocol of testing, tracing and treatment. People must be tested as soon as they experienced any symptoms. Once they had been diagnosed with Covid-19, the affected person must also act in a disciplined manner by self-isolating and entering quarantine.
University of Indonesia medical professor Tjandra Yoga Aditama, who is also the postgraduate program director at YARSI University, emphasized that five important measures needed to be taken to increase public awareness about Covid-19 transmission.
These measures were: good epidemiological surveillance, increased testing capability, contact tracing and booster dose coverage, and improved risk communication.