Government Accelerates Vaccination of COVID-19 to All Levels of Society
By: Arsenio Bagas Pamungkas
The Indonesian government continues to push for the achievement of the COVID-19 vaccination so that it can reach all people in Indonesia. This follows the news that cases of COVID-19 have increased again after the discovery of a new Omicron XBB variant.
One of the most appropriate efforts to reduce the risk of infection and even the risk of death due to exposure to COVID-19 is to vaccinate against COVID-19. Therefore, the government continues to boost vaccine achievements, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
Data shows that the elderly group has a much higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 when compared to the group of children. Regarding this, the Minister of Health (Menkes RI), Budi Gunadi Sadikin explained that vaccines are indeed very important to be able to protect humans from the effects of being exposed to COVID-19, especially for those in the elderly group.
The importance of immediately carrying out vaccinations according to Minister of Health Budi is because if people do not get protection from vaccines, then it is likely that if they are exposed to COVID-19 they will experience severe and even critical conditions and have to be rushed to the hospital.
Furthermore, Budi Gunadi stated that in fact there are also patients who have died from COVID-19 because they have not yet undergone vaccination up to the third dose, especially the use of booster vaccines which not all Indonesian people have done yet.
Patients who confirmed positive for COVID-19 alone in the period October 4 to November 8 2022 reached up to 27,081 patients. They are all receiving treatment at the hospital. Then, out of this total, almost half, namely 10,639 patients, turned out to have moderate symptoms, severe symptoms to reach a critical position.
As many as 74 percent of them actually still haven’t received the COVID-19 booster vaccine. Then there were 1,373 recorded patients who died in the same period, that is, 84 percent of them had not received a booster vaccine at all.
The highest death rate occurs in the elderly group, where around 50 percent of the elderly have not received any vaccinations at all. Again emphatically, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia stated that if people have undergone booster vaccinations, the risk of illness and death due to COVID-19 will decrease significantly when compared to those who have not received the vaccine.
The government’s efforts to continue to push for an increase in vaccinations by the public are indeed in line with the news that the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases has in fact increased. In fact, not only encouraging vaccination achievements, but the government is also making efforts to educate the whole community to be able to undergo vaccination.
Of course, with the education provided beforehand, it is hoped that people’s insight will become more open about how important it is to undergo the COVID-19 vaccination, because indeed the current world condition cannot be said to be 100 percent safe because the existence of a pandemic has not completely disappeared.
It cannot be denied that there are still many assumptions about the COVID-19 vaccination that is spreading in the community, which is wrong information and completely untrue. With more and more hoax information spreading, it makes the people themselves tend to be afraid of getting vaccinated.
Therefore, one of the strategies that deserves high appreciation from the government is to carry out a counter discourse, namely to fight the false and misguided news with correct information in accordance with data and studies from experts.
Acting Director of Immunization Management Directorate General of Disease Prevention and Control (P2P) of the Ministry of Health, dr. Prima Yosephine stated the need for efforts to continue to socialize the importance of complete COVID-19 vaccination to the public. In addition, the government itself also guarantees and ensures that vaccine stocks are sufficient to meet the needs of accelerated vaccination of all Indonesian people.
So far, there has been an increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, presumably because of the newest variant, Omicron XBB, in Indonesia. Prima Yesephine firmly denied that there was an opinion from the public that it was as if the pandemic had ended, so there was absolutely no need to undergo a booster vaccine.
Meanwhile, General Chairperson of the Indonesian Allergy-Immunology Association, Professor Iris Rengganis, appealed to residents not to worry about the mild side effects caused by post-vaccination, such as aches, pain at the injection site, muscle aches and fever.
According to him, all these reactions are a normal form of efforts to form antibodies in response to the administration of vaccines into the body. Because there really is something that is put into the body so that an inflammatory reaction will occur, which is temporary and will go away on its own in a few moments.
Responding to the existence of the latest variant of Omicron XBB in Indonesia, of course, the whole community must be able to support each other so that herd immunity is immediately created with at least more than 70 percent of the total population undergoing booster vaccinations or the third dose. Therefore, the government continues to encourage the achievement of COVID-19 vaccinations for all people.
)* The author is a contributor to Persada Institute