Jakarta: COVID-19 vaccinations for the elderly will be accelerated ahead of Christmas and New Year, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment and coordinator for Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) for Java-Bali, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said.
This step is meant to anticipate an increase in COVID-19 cases after religious events and long holidays, he explained.
"To anticipate Christmas and New Year (spikes in COVID-19), the vaccination rate for the elderly needs to be continuously pursued, especially in agglomeration areas and centers of economic growth," he underlined at an online press conference on Monday.
This would be in line with President Joko Widodo's direction this Monday regarding a strategy for preparing for Christmas and New Year.
The President has reminded his staff to stay vigilant in the midst of the slowdown in COVID-19 cases. In the past week, the national daily confirmed cases have fallen by 98.4 percent, while daily confirmed cases in Java-Bali have dropped 98.9 percent from their peak position on July 15, 2021.
In fact, as of October 10, 2021, there have been 39 additional deaths due to COVID-19, the minister noted.
"We must keep the cases as low as possible and we must be consistent," Pandjaitan emphasized.
Based on weekly evaluations, the minimum requirement for elderly vaccination coverage to reduce PPKM levels from 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 is boosting the vaccination rate in the elderly group in Java-Bali, he said.
The one-dose vaccination rate among the elderly in Java and Bali has reached 40 percent as of October 10, an increase of 8 percent since September 13, or when the vaccination requirements began to be established, he added.