Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia can avoid a potential third COVID-19 wave if the government expedites vaccination coverage, Iwan Ariawan, an epidemiologist from the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Indonesia, has said.

"Support from the community is needed to meet the vaccination target of 70 percent by the end of 2021," he stated here on Tuesday.

Based on data from the Health Ministry, the national COVID-19 vaccination target is 208,265,720 people. The first vaccination dose has been administered to 135,087,931 people as of November 22, 2021, while the second dose has been given to 89,892,161 people.

"If the number of people being vaccinated continues to grow, Indonesia may be able to avoid the third wave," he observed.

In addition to vaccination, people with natural COVID-19 antibodies, since they have been infected with the disease, may help form herd immunity, Ariawan said.

"The increase in cases may not be as high as in the last Christmas or Eid al-Fitr holidays," he added.

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Vaccination coverage for the entire population must be accelerated to help Indonesia form herd immunity and enter the endemic phase of COVID-19, he said.

According to Ariawan, one of the reasons some people are still reluctant to get vaccinated is that they have been exposed to hoaxes related to the side effects and benefits of vaccines.

He suggested fighting hoaxes using the right strategy. Several people are also anti-vaccination, he said.

"We cannot rely on health workers to provide education to people who are anti-vaccine or those who do not believe in vaccines. A public figure, or a person that many people look up to, must also give education about vaccination," he suggested.

Separately, a Sociology Professor from Gajah Mada University (UGM), Sunyoto Usman, said that it is not easy for people in general to understand the dangers of the COVID-19 virus.

"They only discovered the impact of the disease after someone was exposed," Usman explained.

Literacy on COVID-19 needs to be built by the government, community leaders, schools, universities, mass media, and mass organizations to provide education to people who are anti-vaccine or those who believe in hoaxes, he suggested.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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