…we need a booster to increase the level of protection again to a level that can protect.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) has asked people to get the third dose or the first booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to help accelerate endemic phase realization.

"I appeal to the community who have not gotten the booster to get the booster immediately because the more people get the booster dose, the faster we will enter the endemic (phase)," head of IDI's COVID-19 Handling Task Force, Dr. Erlina Burhan, SpP.(K.), said at ANTARA's office here on Tuesday.

The coverage of the booster dose vaccination is still low at 26 percent, Burhan noted. Meanwhile, the first dose coverage has reached 86 percent and the second dose coverage 72 percent.

There are several requirements for entering the endemic phase, namely a transmission rate of below 1 percent, a positivity rate of below five percent, a hospitalization rate of below 5 percent, and a death rate of below 3 percent.

Additionally, people must get the booster dose to increase the protection provided by the vaccine, which decreases over time, she said.

"Over time, six months later, it decreases, so we need a booster to increase the level of protection again to a level that can protect," she stressed.

In older adults, the antibody levels are not as optimal as in younger people, so the booster dose is essential for them. This is why older adults are being prioritized for the first and second booster vaccinations.

She then emphasized the importance of collaboration between health workers, the government, and all elements of society in handling COVID-19. According to Burhan, the collaboration so far has proven that COVID-19 can be overcome, even though the country is not in the endemic phase yet.

Indonesia is one of the countries that have successfully handled COVID-19, meaning the virus transmission rate has been brought under control, she pointed out.

Even though COVID-19 cases have been decreasing of late, people must stay alert by implementing the health protocols, including wearing masks, she added.

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Translator: Lia Wanadriani, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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