"There are many who think it (second booster) is unnecessary. Thus, it needs to be informed that older adults, especially those with comorbidities, are easily infected and (the symptoms are) more severe," she said when contacted on Thursday.
The decline in the number of COVID-19 cases has led to people, including older adults, not wanting to take the booster dose, the pulmonologist noted. In fact, the fourth dose or second booster is needed to make the level of protection from the first dose more optimal.
"Viruses are always mutating. There are new variants, including the XBB sub-variant. In theory, the antibodies that are formed from vaccines decrease over time, so they need to be boosted again," she explained.
Burhan said it is regrettable that the first booster coverage has only reached 28 percent or 66 million people out of the target of 234 million.
She said that the decline in vaccinations has been caused by several things, such as declining interest among people, limited logistics, and difficult access, especially for older adults who need extra effort to reach booster vaccination facilities.
Therefore, she advised the government to increase the booster vaccination coverage through direct visits to people so that the coverage can at least reach 50 percent, the community immunity can be improved, and additional booster doses are no longer needed.
"If the booster (coverage) is above 50 percent and the COVID-19 situation is under control, maybe people do not need to be given multiple boosters," she said.
The Ministry of Health has approved the provision of a second COVID-19 booster for older adults aged above 60 years. The policy has been effective since November 22, 2022.
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