The new COVID-19 vaccine is a reformulation of the old vaccine. The developer promises that this vaccine can provide protection against both the original COVID-19 virus strain and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. Therefore, these vaccines are called bivalent (bivalent).
This is the first time the FDA has authorized a COVID vaccine without going through human trials. The FDA relies on observations of the mouse immune system in the laboratory and data on the effectiveness of its predecessor vaccines.
Noting this development, VOA contacted Dr. LJ Tan, Chief Policy and Partnership Officer at Immunize.org.
He commented, “So thanks to technology, of course a lot of data has been collected about the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine. Basically the FDA, because this vaccine was developed exactly the same as the previous vaccine, is reviewing whether this vaccine can stimulate a protective immune response. this vaccine stimulates an immune response, both against the original virus and the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.”
According to Tan, this practice has long been practiced with flu vaccines, where the strain of the virus changes every year. To provide the vaccine, human clinical trials are no longer carried out because the urgency of time does not allow it.
Tan added that the presence of a bivalent vaccine would help reduce the threat of outbreaks in the fall.
“The outcome we want this fall is a reduction in cases, and early vaccines, especially those supplemented with boosters, are already effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness. So, in my opinion, the bivalent vaccine adds another layer of protection, on top of the chain. vaccinations that have been obtained from the primary vaccine series plus the booster.”
This new vaccine does not yet exist in Indonesia.
Dr. Budiono Santoso is a public health expert and former adviser on medicine at WHO. Like Tan, he also assessed that the vaccination program implemented in Indonesia so far has succeeded in reducing the severity of the COVID-19 disease and its death rate.
What needs to be considered in Indonesia, according to Budiono, is that the exemption from the implementation of restrictions on community activities (PPKM) last July caused COVID-19 cases to increase in August.
Budiono realizes that the enactment of lockdown total is not possible due to the impact on the economy, but Budiono is confident that Indonesian public health authorities can initiate effective preventive measures.
“Ada preventive measures (preventive measures) such as maintaining distance, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, maintaining health and so on, the public must still make sure (ensure) that it is still needed,” he said.
Budiono’s next concern is the orderly use of antibiotics, and according to his observations, in several countries, for example in India, it appears that for COVID-19, many people use antibiotics in the hope of preventing it. In addition to this is the wrong use, the increased consumption of antibiotics has the potential to cause germ resistance.
“The risk is that if we use antibiotics carelessly, between the need and the indications, the risk is that germ resistance will occur. If there is an outbreak with resistant germs, the impact will be very heavy.”
In the future, the two experts warned, the world’s population must start living a new “normal” life, in which public health authorities formulate general vaccination policies. But in the end, it’s up to us to be aware of this COVID-19 virus and take the right precautions to avoid it. [jm/ka]