Jakarta (ANTARA) - The number of Indonesian citizens who have received the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or the first booster reached 66.9 million on Friday, according to the Task Force for COVID-19 Handling.

The number of people who have received the first booster increased by 76,530 on Friday to reach 66,938,549, or 28.5 percent of the 234,666,020 targeted recipients.

As per records, the second dose has been provided to 174,260,097 people, or 74.3 percent of the target population so far. On Friday, the number of residents who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine increased by 20,873.

Meanwhile, the coverage of the first dose reached 203,707,513, or 86.8 percent of the target.

The coverage of the fourth dose or the second booster, which is being provided to health workers, increased by 22,113 on Friday to reach 885,695.

The government has enacted a policy regarding the second booster vaccination for elderly citizens, or residents aged 60 years and above.

A professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia, Rezeki Hadinegoro, stressed the importance of the second booster vaccination to increase the immunity of the elderly against COVID-19.

"The elderly group needs to immediately get a second booster vaccination, especially those who have co-morbidities," he said, adding that the family plays an important role in enabling the second booster vaccination for the elderly.

The government is currently focusing on addressing the low coverage of the third dose or the first booster COVID-19 vaccination, the Health Ministry earlier informed.

"Of course, there is a plan to give the second booster to the general public but right now, we are focusing on expediting the (administration of the) first booster," director general of disease prevention and control at the ministry, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, said.

Responding to the plan for providing a second booster to the general public, Rondonuwu stated that all parties must first focus on increasing the coverage of the first booster, which, so far, has reached 38 percent as against the target of 50 percent.

However, the government has discussed the provision of the second booster to the general public after the second booster vaccination for the elderly group is completed, he added.

At present, the government is trying to expedite the administration of the first booster by mapping areas where vaccination coverage is still low and distributing vaccines with the help of the National Police and the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), he informed.

"We are focusing on administering the first booster, while also managing the second booster provision for health workers and the elderly who are also immunocompromised," he added.

Rondonuwu said that as part of efforts to increase the first booster coverage, the government has made the dose mandatory for travel.

The first and second boosters are equally important, especially for the elderly, he added.

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Translator: Fitra A, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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