Jakarta: Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said that the government is providing half-dose heterologous booster vaccinations to ensure recipients’ safety and to facilitate vaccinators’ work.
"The heterologous vaccination has been studied in other countries a lot. The vaccination method has become a preference since it provides multiple protection," he explained during a meeting with Commission IX of the Indonesian House of Representatives here on Tuesday.
The type of antibodies formed by heterologous booster vaccinations will be richer than those formed by the homologous ones, he said.
The United States has researched and implemented half-dose booster vaccinations for Moderna vaccines, he noted.
"The Moderna vaccine has a high incidence of adverse events. Thus, we consider that giving half a dose of the vaccine as a booster will turn out much safer," the minister said.
The decision to administer half-dose heterologous booster vaccinations has also been taken based on the recommendations of the Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI), he added.
In addition, it has also been recommended by a consortium of professors from Padjadjaran University and the University of Indonesia, who have conducted a clinical trial, Sadikin said.
The recommendations have been approved by the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM), he added.
"We have noted that, on average, antibody level produced by primary vaccination is about 100–200. Once a person is injected with a half dose of the booster vaccine, the antibodies rise to a level of 7,500–8,000," the minister stated.
Meanwhile, a full dose of the booster vaccine will increase the antibodies to a level of 8,000-8,500, he added.
"Thus, even if we provide the full dose booster vaccination, the difference is not too significant," he remarked.
Furthermore, the provision of half-dose heterologous booster vaccinations also aims to ease the work of vaccinators in preparing the vaccines, he said.
"We also consider the operational issues. If the vaccinators are asked to prepare both of the half-dose heterologous booster vaccines and the single-dose heterologous booster vaccines, their work will be more difficult," the minister added.