A vaccinator administers a Covid-19 vaccine to an elderly man in Jakarta on March 15, 2021. (B1 Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Gov’t Speeds Up Elderly Vaccination to Prevent Case Surges

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

Jakarta. Indonesia is ramping up its efforts to get its senior citizens vaccinated against Covid-19 to prevent a surge in cases that are now taking place in neighboring countries.

"Several countries, including Singapore, are facing a rise in cases. Singapore recorded 1,939 new cases on Sunday [Sep 26] — the highest since Apr 2021," Communications and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate said in a press statement on Monday.

"All of us must work together to prevent this from happening in Indonesia."

In Singapore's recent case surge, the first two fatalities came from the elderly population — two Singaporean women aged 97 and 69. 

The 97-year-old tested positive on September 18 and died on Sep 25. The 69 -year-old was confirmed to have Covid-19 on Sep 24 and died on the same day. 

According to Johnny, this incident has taught at least two important lessons. First, with Covid-19 still around, we must comply with the health protocols and boost the vaccination drive. Secondly, the incident has shown that the elderly population has the highest risk of Covid-related deaths.

Johnny urged all senior citizens to get their Covid-19 jabs as soon as possible. He also asked families to assist and encourage their elderly loved ones to get vaccinated.

"Let us all take and escort our elderly parents and relatives to the nearest vaccination center. For those with motor limitations, let us help to make it easier for them to visit the vaccination booth," Johnny said.

"If there are other concerns like comorbidities, we accompany them in seeking professional medical advice. Make sure they get vaccinated immediately to lower the risk of serious illness and death. We know that the elderly have a high mortality risk," the minister added.

He called for the village community-level restriction command posts, public health centers, and vaccination centers to ensure easier vaccine access for the seniors. The regional government must also come up with a strategy to speed up the elderly vaccination rollout.

"Let us also work together to combat misinformation to protect our elderly from hoaxes, especially those related to vaccination," Johnny said.

As of September 27, Indonesia has only administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 29 percent of the targeted elderly population or about 6.25 million people. Only 19.9 percent or 4.3 million senior citizens are fully vaccinated.

The government is targeting to vaccinate 21,553,118 senior citizens.

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