Indonesia to give medics Covid-19 booster jab after string of deaths

Indonesia has relied heavily on the Chinese-made Sinovac jab in its vaccine roll-out.
Indonesia has relied heavily on the Chinese-made Sinovac jab in its vaccine roll-out.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (AFP) - Health workers in coronavirus-hit Indonesia will get a third booster jab using the Moderna vaccine, the authorities said on Friday (July 9), after several fully inoculated medics died from Covid-19.

The South-east Asian nation, battling its most serious outbreak to date driven by the Delta variant, has relied heavily on the Chinese-made Sinovac jab in its vaccine roll-out.

But out of 1,000 medical workers who have died of Covid-19, more than a dozen were fully inoculated, according to the country's medical association, raising fresh concerns about Sinovac.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the government would give 1.47 million health workers an extra jab using the vaccine made by US biotech company Moderna.

"The third jab will only be given to health workers, because health workers are the ones who are exposed to high levels of virus every day," he told a press conference.

"They must be protected at all costs."

A donation of four million Moderna vaccines will arrive in the next few days from the United States, after which the inoculation of medics will begin, he said.

Both Moderna and Sinovac follow two-jab regimes.

Moderna says its vaccine is 90 per cent effective against all forms of the disease and 95 per cent effective against severe disease.

Sinovac's effectiveness against all forms of the disease and severe disease is lower.