Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto said the government was preparing regulations related to the administration of vaccines booster or the third dose of COVID-19 either paid or free to the public. According to him, this policy was taken to anticipate various possibilities for the emergence of new variants or mutations of the corona virus that could cause a third wave in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mr. President gave directions that this would be calculated in more detail. Of course, this is necessary to withstand if there is a third wave and this will be calculated according to the people who are vaccinated whether it is 50 or 60 percent this will continue to be encouraged. While the rest will be pushed through paid vaccines,” said Airlangga.
He explained that the price of vaccines and others would be finalized. This paid vaccine, he said, will target 93.7 million people. Then, at least 87.4 million people who are registered as recipients of out-of-pocket assistance (PBI) at BPJS Health are targeted to get free vaccines with a total need of 97.1 million doses.
He continued, vaccines booster This program is also prepared for children aged 12 years, which reach 4.4 million children, with an estimated need for vaccines of 9.9 million doses. On the other hand, contribution-based vaccines originating from the Regional Revenue and Expenditure Budget (APBD) and Non-Wage Recipient Participants (PBPU) are 27.2 million or with an estimated 30.2 million vaccine doses. He also said there were a total of around 137.2 million people specifically for the vaccine program.
Is the COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Effective?
Epidemiologist from Australia’s Griffith University, Dicky Budiman said scientifically it was a vaccine booster or a third dose is required. This is because various variants or new mutations of the corona virus are said to reduce the efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccine. However, he emphasized giving booster to the general public this year is not urgent. The ideal is next year, and even then, it should prioritize vulnerable groups such as health workers, the elderly and those with congenital or comorbid diseases.
Further he explained it would be better if the vaccine booster it is given to the general public when the vaccination coverage in a country is more than 50 percent, and the total world population who has received the first and second doses reaches 40 percent. According to him, this is important to prevent the emergence of new variants in countries with very low vaccination coverage compared to other countries. He also gave an example of countries on the African continent whose COVID-19 vaccination coverage is still below five percent.
“When we talk about a pandemic, we are not talking about one country, let alone a region, but talking about the world. When there are countries or regions in the world where even half of the vaccinations have not been achieved, it means that for the world, new variants can appear. Later the chase between the vaccine and the virus will lose the vaccine and this will cause many victims and losses for us. Therefore the answer is ethically, strategically it is not right. Then, when exactly? When the country is at least 50 percent plus already, and in total the world is at least 40 percent,” he told VOA.
Then, how effective is the third dose against the spread of this corona virus outbreak? Dicky said that there are at least four benefits that are expected to be created from giving vaccines booster These are effectiveness in preventing infection, effectiveness in preventing severity, effectiveness in preventing death, and effectiveness in preventing transmission. Of the four things that have been proven is to prevent severity and death. However, unfortunately it has not been able to prevent infection and transmission.
“But to prevent infection and prevent transmission is still not successful, but the percentage is not significant. So that’s why it takes a long time to talk about herd immunity, because if we talk about it, there must be a vaccine that can prevent transmission. If not, then it will actually create herd immunity, so the threshold is reached first. Therefore, the effectiveness of administering vaccines, whether it’s doses one, two, three, four and so on, will depend very much on a combination of public health strategies, namely 3T and 5M, and general restrictions such as PPKM or tightening at the entrance to Indonesia,” he concluded. .