Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) has asked the government and the community to step up booster vaccinations as an anticipatory measure against the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
"We encourage the government and the community to rev up the booster dose COVID-19 vaccinations again," head of the infectious disease assessment division of IDI, Dr. Agus Dwi Susanto, Sp.P(K), said at a virtual press conference that was followed online from on Tuesday.
Susanto, who also serves as chairman of the Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI), noted that the community must be reminded to implement the COVID-19 health protocols, such as wearing masks, maintaining a safe distance, washing hands, and avoiding crowds.
"The BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants have become a reminder of the need to strengthen the health protocols," he said.
He added that his division had also recommended that the government review its policy of lifting the mask mandate in open spaces.
Susanto informed that the Infectious Disease Assessment Division has been tasked with monitoring the development of infectious diseases in the country.
"We are observing the development of any infectious disease. If we look at the current number of cases, the number of cases that are rising again is COVID-19," he said.
He noted that as per reports, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants have triggered an increase in COVID-19 cases in various countries. "A fast response is needed to handle the spread," he pointed out.
To this end, education and dissemination regarding the subvariants must be intensified, he added. "The role of health workers in disseminating and educating (health information to the community) is essential to prevent transmission," he remarked.
According to data provided by the Ministry of Health, as of June 21, 2022, as many as 201,223,231 Indonesians have received the first vaccine dose, 168,544,951 have received the second dose, and 49,209,513 have received the booster dose.