Jakarta (ANTARA) - Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Puan Maharani urged the government to re-intensify the COVID-19 vaccination program, both for primary and booster vaccinations.

"The presence of COVID-19 patients, who died, must become a warning for us all," the speaker noted in a written statement here on Thursday.

Maharani appealed to the government to boost the dissemination of information and education as well as vaccination services for the community to anticipate a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The Epidemiological Surveillance and Immunization Section of the Jakarta Health Office reported that two COVID-19 patients had died after being infected with the virus. The two individuals, aged 81 and 91 years, had comorbidities and had not received the fourth vaccine dose.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health noted that COVID-19 cases had risen sharply since the end of October 2023. During the period from October 1 to October 26, some 230 cases were recorded, and this figure jumped to 355 cases on November 1-26.

The cases were dominated by the XBB 1.5 Omicron subvariant that also caused an infection wave in Europe and the US. In addition to this, Indonesia has detected cases of the EG.2 and EG.5 subvariants.

The house speaker reminded the government to ensure the availability of vaccine doses for the community at all health facilities, especially since the 2023 Christmas and 2024 New Year holidays are approaching.

"All community health centers (puskesmas) and health facilities designated for vaccination services must have COVID vaccine stocks, so that people can get vaccinated quickly to increase antibodies again and prolong protection from severity and death due to infection," she remarked.

She further noted that comfort and safety should be ensured at health facilities in all regions. In addition, isolation rooms need to be prepared for COVID-19 patients.

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Translator: Fauzi, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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