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Indonesia's different anti-Covid strategy: Why are you vaccinating young people first?

Indonesia's different anti-Covid strategy: Why are you vaccinating young

Indonesia is among the countries that have prepared an anti-Covid vaccination plan in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and to pursue economic activities. But the country is taking a completely different approach from the others. Vaccination of the elderly, as the second category after doctors, will in fact be young people working from the age of 18 to the age of 59.

President Joko Widodo, 59, was the first person in the country to get the vaccine yesterday. Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, 77, will not do it now as he is elderly. Professor Amin Soebandrio, who has advised the government on the "youth first" strategy, argues that it makes sense to prioritize immunization among working people - those "who go out of the house and across the country and then return home at night to their families" Theirs".

"We are targeting those who are likely to spread the virus," he told the BBC. The expert argues that this approach will give the country the best chance of achieving mass immunity, which occurs when a large part of a community becomes immune through vaccinations or the mass spread of a disease. It is estimated that 60-70% of the global population should be immune to stop the spread of coronavirus easily. However, these figures will increase significantly if new, more transmissible variants become more widespread.

Indonesia, with a population of 270 million, has the highest cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia. According to government data 80% of cases are among the working population.

While schools and government offices have been closed for almost a year, the government has resisted imposing severe blockades, for fear of impacting the country's economy. But more than half of the population works in the informal sector, so for many people working from home it is not a vaccination option.

New Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin defended the strategy and insists it is not just about the economy but about "protecting people and targeting first those who are likely to get the virus and spread it to families and then to the community".

'We do not know if this will work but it should be evaluated,' says Peter Collignon, professor of infectious diseases at the Australian National University.