Taking COVID-19 booster shots not mandatory: Health Ministry

Self Care

Health Ministry’s spokesperson, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, clarified that the booster vaccination provided by the government to increase individual protection from the risk of COVID-19 transmission is not mandatory.

“This vaccine booster is not mandatory. It merely aims to offer additional protection to individuals amid the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant,” Tarmizi noted on Thursday.

The spokesperson further remarked that information was currently available about a natural decrease in vaccine efficacy, for which the government had decided to provide booster shots.

The government’s policy to offer the vaccine booster free aims to ensure all levels of society can have equal access to vaccination.

Epidemiologist from Griffith University Australia Dicky Budiman also highlighted two reasons behind not making booster vaccines in Indonesia mandatory.

“First, the government must complete the full dose of vaccination. This is in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) statement that said the vaccine booster is mandatory for vulnerable people, who are immunocompromised,” he explained.

The second rationale is the concern of the Indonesian government in responding to provide better protection to the public amid the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron.

“In the Omicron and Delta era, we are pursuing a two-dose parallel vaccination coverage outside Java-Bali, including protecting vulnerable groups,” Budiman stated.

He affirmed that Indonesia’s decision to provide a booster vaccine was the right step forward. However, it is necessary to ensure that the government remains consistent in achieving the primary vaccination target.

“The government’s decision to provide the vaccination booster ticket through the PeduliLindungi application is a good step. The success of the vaccination booster depends on the strategy in the community, specifically prioritizing the high-risk ones,” he affirmed.

Budiman addressed that the Omicron variant has a lower severity as compared to the Delta variant. However, Omicron has the ability to disrupt the stability of health services and also other sectors, such as food distribution and economic problems.

The Omicron variant, with high transmissibility, may easily paralyze important sectors in the country, including workers in the health, social, and economic sectors.

Source: Antara News