JAKARTA, July 17 - More than 350 Indonesian doctors have contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been hospitalised, officials said as concerns rise about the efficacy of some viruses against more virulent strains.
Most doctors were asymptomatic and self-isolating at the home, said Badai Ismoyo, head of the district health office in Central Java, but many were in hospital with high fevers and declining oxygen saturation levels.
Kudus is battling an outbreak believed to be driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, which has pushed bed occupancy rates over 90% in the district.
In April, the vaccinated Indonesian healthcare workers were among the first to be designated as a priority group when the inoculation drive began in January.
According to the Indonesian Medical Association, almost all have received the COVID 19 vaccine, developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
While the number of Indonesian healthcare workers that died from COVID 19 is decreasing significantly from 158 deaths this January to 13th in May, according to the data initiative LaporCOVID 19, public health experts say the Java hospitalisations are cause for concern.
The data shows that they have the Delta variant of Kudus so it is no surprise that the breakthrough infection is higher than before as we know a majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia got Sinovac and we don't know yet how effective it is in the real world against this delta variant, said Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University in Australia.
A spokesperson from Sinovac and Indonesia's Ministry of Health were not immediately available for comment on the Efficacy of CoronaVac against newer coronavirus variants.
After one of the worst outbreaks in Indonesia with more than 1.9 million cases and 53,000 deaths, there has been a heavy toll on the doctors and nurses in Asia with 946 deaths.
Many are now suffering pandemic fatigue and can begin an increasingly laissez-faire approach to health protocols after being vaccinated, said Lenny Ekawati, from LaporCOVID 19.
'That phenomenon happens quite often these days, not only within the community but also healthcare workers, said she : 'They think because they are vaccinated that they are safe.
However, as more cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant are identified in the fourth most populous nation on earth, the data is beginning to tell a different story.
Across Indonesia, at least five doctors and one nurse have died from COVID - 19 despite being vaccinated according to the Data Initiative Group, though one had only received their first shot.
He died in Kudus, said IDI, even though it is understood that he had a comorbidity.
In Jakarta the radiologist Dr Prijo Sidipratomo told Reuters that he knew at least half a dozen doctors in the city who had been treated last month with COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. One of these is currently being positioned in ICU.
'' It's alarming for us because we cannot rely on only vaccinations, he said, urging people to strictly adhere to health protocol.
Indonesia has experienced a surge in cases, with the positivity rate exceeding 23% on Wednesday and daily cases closer to 10,000, the highest since late February.
In its latest story in its latest situation report, the World Health Organization called for Indonesia to implement a stricter lockdown with increased transmission due to variants of concern and a 'drastic increase in bed occupancy rates' necessitating urgent action. Where are we in a very challenging market?