Indonesia mulls rollout of fourth dose of Covid vaccine

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Indonesia was mulling the rollout of the fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccines as the pandemic is predicted to last longer than expected and the antibodies decline after six months of inoculation, Health Ministry spokesman Mohammad Syahril said on Friday.

“Some countries have started it, and Indonesia is planning it as the pandemic lasts,” Syahril was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The vulnerable groups such as medical workers, people with comorbidity, the elderly, and public workers will be prioritised to receive the fourth dose.

The Covid-19 vaccination rate in Indonesia has reached 97 per cent for the first dose, 81 per cent for the second dose, and 26 percent for the third dose.

Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University Australia, said a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is still needed to reduce hospitalisation and mortality.

The presence of the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant will make the pandemic duration last longer, while the transmission of BA.4 and BA.5 has not yet reached its peak, he said.

“I predict the vulnerable or crisis period from this fourth wave will last until October,” said Budiman.

Indonesia confirmed 4,834 new cases on Friday, bringing the total tally to 6,159,328, with accumulated recoveries of 5,964,196 and deaths of 156,893.

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