According to the Technical Instructions for Vaccination Implementation issued by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, the provision of COVID-19 vaccine for the elderly will be carried out after vaccination for health workers and public service workers.
The COVID-19 vaccination is very important for the elderly because the elderly are more susceptible to Corona virus infection. The presence of comorbidities and physical conditions that are starting to weaken make it more difficult for the elderly to fight infections, including COVID-19. That is why the elderly are a priority to receive this vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine Safety for the Elderly
The currently available COVID-19 vaccine and has begun to be distributed in Indonesia is the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac. The POM has also issued a permit for the Sinovac vaccine to be used in the elderly.
This permit was issued by BPOM because the Sinovac vaccine has completed clinical trials involving ± 400 healthy elderly people (over 60 years of age). The vaccine is given 2 times with an interval of 28 days.
The healthy elderly in question are the elderly who have never been infected with the Corona virus, are not in a state of fever or flu, do not have vaccine allergies, and have no contact with people infected with the Corona virus.
Based on clinical trials that have been carried out, the Sinovac vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective in the elderly. The efficacy of Sinovac vaccine for the elderly in this clinical trial even reached 98%.
From this clinical trial, it was also found that the side effects felt were generally mild and moderate. The most common side effect is pain at the injection site. Other side effects that can also appear are fever, fatigue, mild cough, nausea, and diarrhea. However, these side effects disappeared within 2 days.
In addition to the Sinovac vaccine, there are several other vaccines that can also be given to the elderly, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and the Sputnik vaccine., and Moderna vaccines.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that have been ordered by the Indonesian government also have good efficacy in the elderly, which is above 93%. Just like the Sinovac vaccine, the side effects that occur are usually mild and temporary.
Although there are reports of side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine having a serious or fatal impact on the elderly, the numbers are very small and cannot be directly linked to the COVID-19 vaccination. All seniors who reported experiencing serious side effects were also over 70 years old and had co-morbidities.
Providing COVID-19 Vaccines for the Elderly in Indonesia
The COVID-19 vaccination for the elderly will start with health workers (nakes) aged over 60 years, followed by vaccination for the elderly who are not health workers (non-nakes).
The following are the stages of the process of administering the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Prospective recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine will receive an SMS to undergo vaccination from the government via the COVID-19 Care number.
- Prospective recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine will be directed to re-register electronically. If the elderly vaccine recipients do not have mobile phones, their data will be collected by local officials.
- The elderly will be given the COVID-19 vaccine 2 times with an interval of 28 days. The administration of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is intended to maximize immunity to the Corona virus.
Apart from SMS, now the elderly can also register via booking “Find a Doctor” on the website or the ALODOKTER application to get free vaccines with drive through. If you have registered, you just have to come on the day, time, and place you get for vaccination.
The rules that need to be observed during the implementation of vaccination drive through, among others:
- Seniors must be accompanied by 1 family member or guardian.
- The vehicle used must be a car.
- Bring an ID card according to the name registered.
- Before the vaccine, the elderly will undergo a screening examination according to the Ministry of Health protocol to ensure eligibility for the Sinovac vaccine. Seniors who do not pass this screening may not get the Sinovac vaccine.
- If they have received the vaccine, the elderly must wait 30 minutes in the car for observation.
- During the observation period, the car must not be locked.
The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be a solution to stop the chain of spreading the Corona virus in Indonesia, especially for people who are at high risk of experiencing serious illness or death from this virus, such as the elderly.
Even though BPOM has issued a permit to give Sinovac vaccine to the elderly, we all still need to comply with health protocols to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, such as wearing masks, maintaining distance, and washing hands with soap and running water.
If you still have questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for the elderly, you can consult a doctor on the ALODOKTER application.