Hundreds of vaccinated Indonesian health workers get COVID-19, dozens in hospital

JAKARTA, June 17 (Reuters) – More than 350 doctors and medical staff in Indonesia contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac, and dozens have been hospitalized, officials said amid concerns about the effectiveness of some vaccines against more infectious variants increase.

Most workers are asymptomatic at home and self-isolating, said Badai Ismoyo, director of the health department in Kudus district in central Java, but dozen were hospitalized with a high fever and falling oxygen levels.

Kudus, which employs approximately 5,000 healthcare workers, is battling an outbreak believed to be triggered by the more easily transmissible Delta variant, which has increased bed occupancy to over 90%.

Designated as a priority group, health workers were among the first to be vaccinated when vaccinations began in January.

Almost all have received the COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) said.

While the number of Indonesian health workers dying from COVID-19 has plummeted from 158 in January to 13 in May, public health experts from the data initiative group LaporCOVID-19 say hospital admissions on Java are a cause for concern.

“The data shows they have the delta variant (in kudus), so it is no surprise that the breakthrough infection is higher than before because, as we know, the majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia got Sinovac, and.” we still don’t know how effective it is against the Delta variant in the real world, ”said Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Griffith University, Australia.

Spokesmen for Sinovac and the Indonesian Ministry of Health were not immediately available to comment on the effectiveness of the Chinese company’s CoronaVac against newer variants of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) approved the emergency use of Sinovac’s vaccine this month, and said the results showed it prevented symptomatic illness in 51% of recipients and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in all patients studied. Continue reading

When Indonesia faced one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, registering more than 1.9 million infections and 53,000 deaths, its doctors and nurses took a heavy toll of 946 deaths.

Many are now suffering from pandemic fatigue and are less vigilant with health logs after vaccination, said Lenny Ekawati of LaporCOVID-19.

“This is a fairly common phenomenon these days, not just within the community but also among health care workers,” she said. “They think they are safe because they are vaccinated.”

But as more cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant are identified in the world’s fourth most populous nation, the data begins to tell a different story.

Across Indonesia, according to the data initiative group, at least five doctors and one nurse have died of COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, even though one had only received an initial vaccination.

A senior physician has died in Kudus, IDI said, although he is known to have had comorbidity.

In Jakarta, the capital, the radiologist Dr. Prijo Sidipratomo told Reuters that he knew of at least half a dozen doctors who were hospitalized last month despite being vaccinated with COVID-19, one of whom is now being treated in an intensive care unit.

“It’s alarming to us because we can’t just rely on vaccinations,” he said, urging people to take precautionary measures.

Weeks after the Eid Al-Fitr Muslim holiday, Indonesia has seen a spike in cases, with the positivity rate surpassing 23% on Wednesday and daily cases approaching 10,000, the highest since late February.

In its latest report, the WHO urged Indonesia to tighten its lockdown as increased transmission due to worrying variants and an increase in bed occupancy required urgent action.

Reporting by Kate Lamb in Sydney and Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Stanley Widianto in Jakarta; Arrangement by Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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