Antara, Jakarta – An epidemiologist from Sriwijaya University urged authorities in Indonesia to ensure that all children aged 6 to 11 must get vaccinated before allowing them to join a physical return to school at full capacity.
"Getting vaccinated must be a requirement for the implementation of the face-to-face learning session, because children belong to a vulnerable group exposed to COVID-19," Iche Andriany Liberty said in Palembang, South Sumatra, on Sunday.
She said that the full vaccination rate was needed because elementary school-aged children often neglect health protocols.
"They are kids. They are different from adults who (can) take care of themselves," she said.
Children are prone to get infected, especially those who have comorbidities. Thus everyone, particularly parents, must make sure that every child is vaccinated.
Parents do not need to doubt the safety of the vaccines given because they have thoroughly been studied and tested by experts.
As an epidemiologist, she suggested the government to expand the targets of vaccination, to include children below 6 years old, or those in playgroups and kindergartens.
As long as the children have yet to get vaccinated,they cannot yet attend the full-capacity offline learning activities at their playgroups and kindergartens as it is a key to handling COVID-19, she argued.
Vaccines are believed to be a method to reduce the risk of illness and death in the event of infection by coronavirus. The public must understand that the COVID-19 continues to prey upon people, at it cannot yet be predicted when will it end.
The virus continues to create new mutations as shown by the emergence of Omicron variant.
Therefore, everyone must work together to create herd immunity, while complying with health protocols and expediting vaccination rate, she compelled.
Meanwhile, regarding the vaccination coverage for children aged 6-17 in South Sumatra, the authorities revealed that as of January 15, 2022, it had reached 24.91 percent of the total target of 899,622 people.
Overall, the province's vaccination coverage had reached 81.99 percent of the total target of 5,167,817 people.