07/14/2021, 15.14
INDONESIA
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Doctors and nurses continue to die despite being vaccinated

by Ati Nurbaiti

Almost 48,000 new cases were reported yesterday, but so far only “micro restrictions” have been imposed. The government has proposed giving a third dose to doctors and nurses. Indonesia’s vaccination rate is among the lowest in the world. Isolation facilities are inadequate and personal protective equipment are in short supply.

 

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – In Indonesia, healthcare workers continue to die from COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated.

The country is experiencing vaccine shortages and new coronavirus variants are causing an increase in the number of COVID-9-related deaths. Yesterday alone, 47,899 new cases were reported with 864 deaths.

According to the Lapor COVID-19 NGO, 1,231 healthcare workers have died since the start of the pandemic. One of them was Risma Dwi Annisa, a 25-year-old pregnant Red Cross employee.

Her death on Monday is raising concerns. She worked at the Surakarta unit in Central Java province.

For their part, the country’s health authorities have not yet given the green light for any type of vaccine for pregnant women.

“In July alone, 35 healthcare passed away,” said Adib Khumaidi, mitigation team leader at the Indonesian Medical Association.

Last month, Khumaidi slammed the government's decision to add beds to health facilities without wider scale lockdowns.

In his view, the current “micro restrictions” at neighbourhood or city levels will not stop the rise in cases outside Java where health facilities and health workers are even scarcer.

Even before the pandemic, Indonesia had barely one doctor for every 1,000 inhabitants. And now doctors complain about the lack of personal protective equipment.

An emergency specialist, Tri Maharani, noted that a lack of safety equipment and comorbidity are contributing to the high death rate among healthcare workers.

In one recent case, a 29-year-old obstetrician-gynaecologist resident died on 6 July. Aliy Akbar was known to have asthma.

To cope with the rise in cases, local authorities have decided to administer an extra dose of the vaccine to health workers.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that, through the COVAX program, Indonesia obtained more than three million doses of Moderna, destined for 1.47 million doctors and nurses.

“We have agreed that the Moderna vaccine will be given as a third dose to provide maximum immunity to existing viral mutations,” Minister Budi said.

Indonesia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world; only 5.49 per cent of the population has received two doses.

The rise in cases is not due only to the emergence of variants. Far too many Indonesians are unable to keep proper social distancing since they are part of large families and often live in one-room homes with a single bed.

For example, in South Tangerang, the children of a man who died from COVID-19 were placed in a vacant house near their home but are now back with their mother. A local community organisation hopes to move them back to the vacant house while their home is disinfected.

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