Indonesia says Sinovac efficacy dropping

Indonesia says Sinovac efficacy dropping

Hospitalisations and deaths from Covid increased among jabbed residents in April-June period

People queue to receive the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine in Jakarta on Thursday. (AFP Photo)
People queue to receive the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine in Jakarta on Thursday. (AFP Photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia says it has found that the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine was less effective at protecting against death and severe illness from April to June, compared with the previous three months.

The shots prevented 79% of deaths and 53% of hospitalisations in the three-month period, compared with 95% and 74%, respectively, from January to March, said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, spokeswoman for the government’s Covid task force.

She didn’t give a reason for the drop in the vaccine’s effectiveness.

The world’s fourth-most populous country is battling a virus resurgence driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant that has led it to top the world’s tally of daily Covid-19 deaths. Since the pandemic began, it has recorded 3.8 million infections and nearly 115,000 deaths.

The country of 260 million is highly reliant on the Chinese-made shots, which account for about one-third of total vaccine supply expected through December.

Jakarta reopened its retail malls this week but to an exclusive crowd — vaccinated shoppers.

Malls are allowed to operate at 25% capacity to try to keep the economy moving, but customers must prove via a smartphone application that they’ve received at least one jab.

That puts them in a select group, with just one in five Indonesians given a shot so far under a mass-immunisation programme that started in January.

“This is a positive measure for the shopping mall. So that visitors can be assured that everyone who enters the mall has been scanned and considered safe and healthy,” said Eka Dewanto, the general manager of Pondok Indah Mall in north Jakarta.

Public concern about the efficacy of some vaccines has been a challenge for authorities in many countries, who continue to stress that any kind of shot is better than none at all.

The Malaysian government has said it would phase out the use of Sinovac under its national immunisation programme. However, 14 million doses of the vaccine will still be available to interested states and private companies from this month to September.

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