Jakarta. A serological survey, taken from November to December 2021, suggested that 86.6 percent of people aged over 1 year old in Indonesia have developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 or the virus that causes Covid-19.
Conducting the survey was the University of Indonesia’s Public Health School (FKM UI). FKM UI also partnered with the Health Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry, Eijkman, and Prodia.
The survey analyzed 9,541 samples in 514 villages or urban wards in Indonesia’s agglomeration areas. The researchers also examined 10,960 samples from 580 villages or urban wards in non-agglomeration areas.
“Having antibodies does not mean they will not get infected. They can still catch the virus. But the antibodies will greatly reduce risks of severe illness and death by SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19,” Iwan Ariawan, an epidemiologist from FKM UI, told a press briefing on Friday.
The survey found antibodies in 99.1 percent of those who have gotten two vaccine doses. In comparison, 91.3 percent of the people who had only received one dose had formed antibodies against Covid-19.
"About 73.9 percent of the unvaccinated people have Covid-19 antibodies. [...] [The unvaccinated] have produced antibodies from being infected by the Covid-19, whether they realize it or not,” Iwan said.
According to the survey, 99.4 percent of people who have both been infected and double-vaxxed have formed antibodies.
The sero survey also revealed that the percentage of the population with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 reached 90.8 percent in agglomeration areas. This is much higher than that of non-agglomeration areas, which stood at 83.2 percent.
Indonesia plans to conduct a serological survey at least every six months. The next serological survey would take place in the middle of this year, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told the same conference.
The minister said that the government would use the serological survey for evidence-based policymaking.
“The government can use [the survey’s] results for evidence-based policies related to the Covid-19 pandemic, be it vaccination or the community restrictions and so on,” Budi said.
Government data shows, as of Friday, about 194.4 million people have gotten their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Second-dose vaccination coverage has reached 153.5 million people. About 16 million people have gotten their third jabs. Indonesia is aiming to fully vaccinate 208.2 million people.