JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin called on the people to get a Covid booster shot to contain the spread of more contagious Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.
Budi said that if more people get the Covid-19 vaccine boosters, the number of infections is lower at the peak of the two new Omicron sub-variants.
“If people have been boosted, likely, the number of cases will not be high at the peak of infections,” Budi told a press conference via the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel on Monday, June 13.
He also explained that almost all countries are gearing up to fight the new wave of Covid-19.
Another wave caused by Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 is likely to reach its peak from the second to the third week of July, according to the minister. Usually, the peak of Covid-19 infections happens a month after the first case was detected.
“President Joko Widodo instructed [his ministers] to improve the booster shots this June,” he added.
People's immune systems will protect against the Covid-19 for six months and even until February or March in 2023 following the booster shots.
The minister hoped Indonesia would be the first country to avoid a spike in Covid cases in 12 consecutive months.
“Usually, every six months a surge in Covid cases is quite likely,” Budi said.
Some countries experienced an increase in daily cases caused by the two new Omicron sub-variants. However, based on his observation, the number of cases at the peak of the new Omicron infections reached only one-third compared to the Delta variant and the original Omicron.
The hospitalization rates are also considered lower. Meanwhile, the death rates from the new Omicron variants, first detected in South Africa, reached only one-tenth compared to the Delta variant and the original Omicron.