Health Ministry to finalise booster vaccine policy for elderly

Health Ministry to finalise booster vaccine policy for elderly

Screenshot of the Health Ministry's COVID-19 vaccination spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi during a public dialog observed in Jakarta on Friday. (Dec 3, 2021). ANTARA/Sanya Dinda.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry's COVID-19 vaccination spokesperson, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, confirmed that the authority was currently in the process of finalising the COVID-19 vaccine booster policy for the elderly.

"We are currently making progress to finalise the booster vaccine policy for elderly, as the first vaccination percentage among our elderly reaches only 51 percent, while the percentage of those senior citizens that completed their second vaccine dose barely passed 30 percent," Tarmizi stated during a public dialog observed in Jakarta on Friday.

The government has prioritised the elderly to receive the booster vaccine, as two vaccine doses are insufficient for their ageing physical condition to develop immunity against the COVID-19 virus, she remarked while adding that health workers and immunocompromised people are also targeted for the booster vaccine program.

"We must remember that the booster vaccine program is best conducted when our national vaccination rate has reached a minimum 60 percent out of the entire targeted population," the spokesperson stated.

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Based on the latest data, only some 95.47 million residents had completed their second vaccine dose, reaching only 45.84 percent of the total 208.26 million residents targeted in the vaccination programme, Tarmizi noted.

Tarmizi highlighted that elderly and vulnerable people needed booster vaccines, as the efficacy of the two vaccine doses would decline with passage of time. The elderly must be prioritised, as they have lower physical endurance than younger people, she added.

"Despite declining efficacy, the vaccine will remain effective to protect the body from the virus. If we achieve herd immunity, our pandemic-handling efforts would become much easier," the spokesperson remarked.

Boosting vaccination efforts is also one key to facing uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, she noted.

"Residents need to cooperate in observing health protocols, assisting COVID-19 handling, and enhance vaccination efforts to mitigate uncertainties that we will face in 2022," Tarmizi stated.

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