Indonesian officials said that more than 350 doctors and medical staff in Indonesia, despite being vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine, were still infected with COVID-19 and dozens of people were hospitalized. Notably, there is growing concern about the effectiveness of some vaccines against more infectious variants.
According to Badai Ismoyo, head of the health office of Kudus district located in central Java, most of the medical staff are asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, but dozens of people have been hospitalized with symptoms. high fever and reduced oxygen saturation level.
Kudus County has about 5,000 healthcare workers battling an outbreak of the coronavirus believed to be caused by the more contagious Delta variant, driving bed occupancy rates to more than 90%.
Designated as a priority group, healthcare workers were among the first to receive the vaccine when vaccinations began in January.
The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) announced that almost all medical staff receive a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
According to the LaporCOVID-19 data initiative, although the number of Indonesian healthcare workers dying from COVID-19 has plummeted from 158 in January to 13 in May, public health experts The number of hospital admissions among medical staff in Java is a matter of concern.
Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Australia’s Griffith University, said: “The data shows that there is a Delta variant (in Kudus) so it is not surprising that the rate of breakthrough infections is higher than before. because, as we know, the majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia are vaccinated with Sinovac, and we still don’t know how effective the vaccine is in practice against the Delta variant.”
Spokespersons for both Sinovac and the Indonesian health ministry have not yet commented on the effectiveness of the Chinese company’s CoronaVac vaccine against new variants of the corona virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) approved the emergency use of Sinovac’s vaccine this month. The organization confirmed that the study results showed that the Sinovac vaccine was 51% effective in preventing symptomatic infections, and in preventing severe COVID-19 infections as well as severe cases of COVID-19. hospitalization in all subjects studied.
As Indonesia grapples with one of the worst outbreaks in Asia, with more than 1.9 million infections and 53,000 deaths, its doctors and nurses have had to suffered heavy losses with 946 deaths.
Lenny Ekawati of LaporCOVID-19 said many people are now feeling sick from the pandemic and therefore take a less precautionary approach than post-vaccination health procedures.
“It happens quite often these days, not only in the community, but also among healthcare workers,” she said. They think that because they are vaccinated they are safe.”
However, as more and more cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant are identified in the world’s fourth most populous country, the data are slowly telling a different story.
Across Indonesia, at least five doctors and one nurse have died from COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, according to the data initiative, even though each had only received the first dose.
In the Kudus district, a senior doctor has died, although it is understood he suffered from other illnesses, the Indonesian Medical Association said.
In the capital Jakarta, Dr Prijo Sidipratomo, a radiologist, told Reuters he knows of at least one doctor who has been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the past month, despite being vaccinated, and one who is currently being treated in an intensive care unit.
“That’s alarming to us because we can’t just rely on vaccinations,” he said. He urged people to take precautions even after vaccination. Weeks after the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, Indonesia is experiencing a spike in infections, with a positivity rate exceeding 23% on June 16 and daily infections. nearly 10,000 people, the highest number since late February.
In the WHO’s latest report, the organization urged Indonesia to tighten its lockdown measures because of the increased infections due to worrying variants, along with the risk of a shortage of hospital beds requiring urgent action. .