Jakarta – The number of Indonesians receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine rose by 216,422 to reach 3,985,596 as of Saturday afternoon, the Health Ministry reported.
In the meantime, 115,474 additional people received their second vaccine shots, bringing the cumulative count to 1,454,836.
The first phase of vaccinations, which kicked off on January 13, 2021, targeted 1,468,764 healthcare workers.
The second phase of vaccinations, which started on February 17, 2021, is targeting 38 million people. The targeted group comprises over 21 million senior citizens and 16 million public service officers, including state officials, government employees, religious figures, traders, teachers, lecturers, athletes, journalists, and tourism operators.
Earlier, chief of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Amin Soebandrio, had said the COVID-19 vaccination program needs to be expedited before the mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the coronavirus disease, become widespread.
If possible, the vaccination programs should be completed before the virus mutates, he stated.
However, he cautioned that vaccinations will not bring an immediate end to the pandemic. The body will not become immune to the virus right away upon receiving a vaccine dose, he explained.
The new variants of COVID-19 require everybody to stay disciplined in following the health protocols, he said.
On March 2, 2021, the Health Ministry announced a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 from Britain has been detected in Indonesia. The new variant is believed to be up to 74 percent more contagious.
So far, six cases of the UK virus variant B1.1.7 have been found in Indonesia.
The central government has set a target of inoculating 181,554,465 people, or 70 percent of the total population of Indonesia, to build herd immunity against the coronavirus.
Source: Antara News