Most workers are asymptomatic at home and self-isolating, said Badai Ismoyo, director of the health department in Kudus district in central Java, but dozens have been hospitalized with high fevers and falling oxygen levels.
Designated as a priority group, health workers were among the first to be vaccinated when vaccinations began in January.
According to the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), almost all of them received the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
While the number of Indonesian health workers dying from Covid-19 fell sharply from 158 in January to 13 in May, public health experts from the data initiative group LaporCovid-19 said hospital admissions in Java are a matter of concern.
A Sinovac spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the effectiveness of the Chinese company’s CoronaVac against newer variants of the virus.
When Indonesia grappled with one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, with over 1.9 million infections and 53,000 deaths, its doctors and nurses took a heavy toll of 946 deaths.
Many are now experiencing pandemic fatigue and are less vigilant with health protocols after vaccination, said Lenny Ekawati of LaporCovid-19.
Across Indonesia, according to LaporCovid-19, at least five doctors and one nurse died of Covid-19 despite being vaccinated, even though one had only received a first vaccination.
Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a senior health ministry official, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how many doctors have died since the vaccination program began.
A senior doctor died in Kudus, IDI said.
Nadia said there had been no deaths among medical staff in Kudus since a new outbreak began in recent weeks and that those who contracted Covid-19 had mild symptoms.
In Jakarta, the capital, 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, WHO urged Indonesia to tighten its lockdown amid increasing transmission and bed occupancy.