Elderly people are a subject of concern due to their age, decreased immune system, and comorbidities
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Doctors Association's (IDI's) COVID-19 Task Force Head, Erlina Burhan, stated that the elderly group had become the government's concern ahead of the endemic phase owing to the high-risk mortality factor on contracting COVID-19.

"Elderly people are a subject of concern due to their age, decreased immune system, and comorbidities. There are risk factors for death or severity of illness if COVID-19 is contracted," Burhan noted during a virtual talk show titled "Why is Booster Still Needed?", Monday.

The pulmonologist, who serves at the Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta, remarked that COVID-19 vaccination for the elderly aims to protect them from COVID-19 transmission, including health protocols, such as wearing a mask.

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"If we look at the current condition in the hospital, most of the COVID-19 patients are the elderly and those with comorbidities, who have not been vaccinated. Most patients at the hospital are unvaccinated," she remarked.

Data from the COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard showed that the number of elderly people, who have received the third dose of injection reached 6.61 million people out of the targeted 21.55 million people.

Meanwhile, 18.36 million elderly, or 85.19 percent, received the first dose, followed by 14.84 million elderly, or 68.88 percent of the target for the second dose.

Burhan said the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies vaccination among the elderly as one of the important indicators of an imminent endemic.

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The WHO has recommended vaccination coverage for the elderly to reach at least 97 percent of the population in each country.

Earlier, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said he had planned to vaccinate groups with low antibody levels, including the elderly, by the end of 2022.

In addition, the government is increasing the dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosters for the elderly and comorbid groups according to their regions.

This effort is continuously being pursued to maintain antibody levels in the community, which can decrease six months after vaccination, Sadikin noted.

According to the minister, a decrease in the level of antibodies cannot be underestimated since virus mutations will continue to occur, even if the symptoms they cause are milder as compared to the earlier variants.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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