With coverage still uneven, coalition calls for cancelation of vaccine booster plan

Kompas.com – January 10, 2022
Police officer directs thousands of people queuing for Covid-19 vaccine in Denpasar, Bali – June 26, 2021 (Suara)

Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition for Fair Healthcare Access is urging the government to reconsider the Covid-19 booster vaccine or third dosage plan for the general public. Coalition member Firdaus Ferdiansyah says that dosage one and two coverage is still not optimal among vulnerable groups, particularly elderly people.

"This situation could prolong the Covid-19 pandemic. The government must also ensure that vaccines are given to everyone, without any paid scheme", said Ferdiansyah at a press conference on Sunday January 9.

As of Thursday January 6, the Coalition has recorded that second dosage coverage in Indonesia is still relatively low, namely at 55.58 percent. Second dosage vaccination for the aged meanwhile has only reached 42.86 present.

Meaning, said Ferdiansyah, there are still around 6.9 million aged people who have still not been vaccinated at all.

According to Ferdiansyah, this number does not yet include vulnerable groups such as those with underlying illnesses, pregnant mothers, traditional communities and the disabled.

In addition to this, he believes that the central government has yet to provide data on the vaccine coverage for vulnerable social groups. Yet they are the groups which have the highest risk of infection.

This situation shows that vaccine inequality in Indonesia is still relatively high and this has the potential to make society vulnerable to being infected by Covid-19.

Because of this, he said, the plan to provide booster vaccines is not a wise move.

"This plan will in fact make those who have yet to received any vaccination at all even more vulnerable to infection and increase the risk of death", said Ferdiansyah.

On the other hand, he believes that the government's plan to distribute vaccine boosters will trigger inequalities in the vaccine coverage in the regions.

Vaccine boosters, for example, will only be given to regencies and cities which have already achieved a first dosage vaccination rate of 70 percent and a second dosage rate of 60 percent.

As of January 7, only 244 regencies and cities have met this requirement.

Referring to this data, there are still at least 290 regencies and cities where the second dosage rate is less than 60 percent.

Ferdiansyah added that this situation shows that an imbalance in the distribution and acceptance of vaccines in society is still happening.

Yet the local transmission of the Covid-19 variant Omicron has already started.

"If boosters are just given to the 244 regencies and cities, then this will create vaccine access injustice. Because, they will be protected first before the other 290 regencies and cities", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Capaian Vaksinasi Tidak Merata, Pemerintah Diminta Kaji Ulang Pemberian Vaksin Booster".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2022/01/10/05250021/capaian-vaksinasi-tidak-merata-pemerintah-diminta-kaji-ulang-pemberian