Jakarta. The government is becoming more confident that the vaccination drive will gain momentum as it secures more doses and gains more experience in vaccinating the population.
On Thursday, a shipment of 1,195,740 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine landed in Indonesia. In total, Indonesia will receive 54.6 million Pfizer doses, according to Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono Harbuwono.
So far, about 220 million doses of different vaccine brands have arrived in Indonesia, whether in bulk or ready-to-use.
The country was also able to administer 50 million shots in July — 26 weeks since the first jab. Then it only took six weeks for Indonesia to deliver the next 50 million doses in late August.
"As [we gain] more experience, the vaccination drive is much faster," Dante said on Thursday.
Dante said he was optimistic that Indonesia could reach that daily target of 2.3 million jobs in September.
The vaccine supply grew by 43 million doses last month. Indonesia already distributed 15.2 million doses across the regions in the fourth week of August and 20.3 million doses in the fifth week of August until early September.
Indonesia was able to ramp up its vaccination to 10 million doses per 10 days since August. But speeding up the vaccination drive would also require collaboration between all parties, the deputy minister said.
Even though the vaccination is gaining momentum, observing the health protocols is still a must.
“We must keep our guard up, refrain ourselves from traveling, comply with the protocols, and get vaccinated. Because vaccination and health protocols are proven to be able to lower the transmission rate,” Dante said.
He also called for regional government and local health agencies to boost the vaccinations for the vulnerable populations — namely the elderly and those with comorbidities.
This is crucial considering more than 50 percent of deaths in hospitals are associated with comorbidities. The elderly’s vaccination drive is also still lagging, Dante said.
A Downtrend in Cases
Dante reported a 25 percent decline in Covid-19 cases in several provinces compared to the week earlier. This downward trend is also accompanied by a recovery rate that continues to climb up. The weekly death toll fell 37 percent compared to the previous week.
Earlier, Health Ministry spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said the national positivity rate fell to 10.36 percent.
Among the provinces with a positivity rate of less than 15 percent are Jakarta, Southeast Sulawesi, Papua, North Maluku, Banten, Maluku, West Nusa Tenggara. As well as Riau Islands, East Nusa Tenggara, East Kalimantan, and South Sumatra.
Testing began to show an increase to an average of 112,000 people in comparison to the previous week’s average of 101,000 people. The bed occupancy rate across the archipelago has also dropped to about 24 percent.
“All provinces have a BOR below 60 percent,” Nadia said.
Watch Out for Delta Variant
The government also continues to monitor the labs conducting whole genome sequencing (WGS) analyses.
From 2020 to August 29, out of a total of 5,788 SARS-CoV-2 sequences, 2,321 were variants of concern. As of August 31, nearly 6,000 sequencing results have been submitted to the global database.
The Delta variant accounts for the majority of the sequencing results in Indonesia. Of the 2,321 variants of concern sequences, 2,240 were the Delta variants (b.1617.2+ayx), according to Nadia.
She warned the Delta variant is highly contagious. The transmission is even five times that of the Alpha variant, in addition to a shorter incubation period.
"We always monitor other variants that may circulate in Indonesia, including the possibility of local variants emerging in the country," she said.
Nadia urged local governments to monitor their respective areas if any large Covid-19 cluster appears. Or if there are any infected, vaccinated individuals to be immediately consulted for sequencing samples.
The government keeps an eye on other aspects that may affect the Covid-19 situation at the national and regional levels, such as the community mobility trend.
According to Nadia, the mobility trend in Central Java —particularly in the retail sector— is close to reaching the pre-pandemic levels. With the relaxation of Covid-19 curbs in various sectors, it is necessary to anticipate an increase in transmission risks. As seen before, increased mobility is always followed by a rise in cases two-three weeks later.
“Obey the health protocols at all times. Remember, the lowering of the [containment measures] level does not mean you can relax the health protocols,” Nadia said.
“We ask for your support to stop the transmission, such as by taking part and collaborating in contact tracing, quarantine, testing, and isolation.”
Indonesia ranks 6th for the country with the most vaccinated population. The archipelagic country also places 7th worldwide in terms of the total administered doses, according to Nadia.
So far, Indonesia has topped 100 million Covid-19 jabs — a combination of the first and second doses and a third booster shot for health workers.
But to beat the pandemic, health protocols, the 3Ts (testing, tracing, treatment), as well as vaccinations must go hand-in-hand.
"And with cooperation between all parties, including the public, we hope to continue our efforts in hopes to control the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia,” Nadia said.