More than 350 doctors and medical workers have tested positive for Covid-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac. Officials made the announcement this week following a growing amount of concerns being raised about the efficacy of some vaccines against the more infectious coronavirus variants.
Most of the workers who tested positive were asymptomatic and simply had to self-isolate at home. Badai Ismoyo, the head of health offices in the district of Kudus, claimed that dozens of workers have also been hospitalized with high fevers and falling oxygen-saturation levels.
Kudos district alone has about 5,000 healthcare workers, and are battling this major outbreak that they believe is being driven by the Delta Covid-19 variant. This variant is much more transmissible than the traditional Covid-19 virus that we’ve been battling for the past year. Additionally, the spreading of this variant has caused Kudos’ bed occupancy rates to reach 90%.
Healthcare workers were obviously among some of the first to receive their vaccinations as they began being distributed. According to the Indonesian Medical Association, almost all healthcare workers received their vaccines from Chinese company Sinovac.
“The data shows they have the Delta variant in Kudus, so it is no surprise that the breakthrough infection is higher than before, because, as we know, the majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia got Sinovac, and we still don’t know yet how effective it is in the real world against the Delta variant,” said Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Australia’s Griffith University.
The World Health Organization approved of the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use this month, claiming the trial data results showed it prevented symptomatic Covid-19 in 51% of all recipients. Indonesia has endured some of the toughest Covid outbreaks in all of Asia, with over 1.9 million cases and 53,000 deaths.
Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a senior health ministry official, said there had been “no deaths in Kudus since a new outbreak began in the past several weeks among medical workers and those who contracted Covid-19 have had mild symptoms.”
“It is alarming for us because we cannot rely on vaccinations only. I know of at least half a dozen doctors hospitalized with Covid-19 in the past month despite being vaccinated, with one now being treated in an ICU,” said radiologist Dr Prijo Sidipratomo.
Daily new cases in Indonesia have been reaching 10,000 as of this week, with an overall positivity rate exceeding 23% for the country.
The WHO has recommended that Indonesia tighten their lockdown restrictions and increase certain protocols until infection rates decrease drastically and more of the average population receives their vaccinations.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.