More than 300 health workers in Indonesia got COVID-19 and required hospitalization despite receiving the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac.
The COVID vaccine, Sinovac has once again made headlines, but not for the right reasons. Previously the vaccine had shown tremendous results among an older population in Brazil. Moreover, earlier this month, it even received an emergency use approval from the World Health Organization. However, conflicting reports have now come in from Indonesia about the vaccine’s efficacy. Recently, the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) reported more than 350 cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers in Indonesia. The majority of them had received the Sinovac vaccine earlier.
The COVID-19 cases occurred in the Kudus district of Indonesia. The region has seen a sharp increase in cases; more than 80% of which have occurred among healthcare workers. Additionally, since the start of the pandemic, 946 deaths have transpired among Indonesia’s healthcare workers. The recent spike in cases is being blamed on the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. This particular variant, which was first discovered in India, has managed to wreak havoc in multiple countries across the world including the UK.
Although majority of the infected healthcare workers developed an asymptomatic infection, dozens required hospitalization. Moreover, five doctors and one nurse has died despite receiving Sinovac. However, it is unclear as to whether all infected healthcare workers had received both doses or a single dose of the vaccine.
Best Vaccine is One That’s Available
In January of this year, Indonesia began its vaccine rollout program. The Sinovac vaccine accounts for more than 80% of Indonesia’s vaccine supply. The first group of people inoculated with the vaccine included healthcare workers. According to data initiative group, LaporCovid-19 the vaccine program managed to decrease deaths among healthcare workers from 158 (January) to 13 (May). Moreover, in May, an Indonesian study reported Sinovac as 98% effective at preventing death and 96% effective at preventing hospitalizations. However, the recent reports of an outbreak among vaccinated healthcare workers are concerning.
According to a health ministry official, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the medical workers who contracted COVID-19 had mild symptoms. She also did not report any new deaths from the new outbreak in Kudus. Other health officials have reported contradicting news from the region. In an interview with Reuters, Dr Prijo Sidipratomo reported that in the past month, at least half a dozen doctors underwent hospitalization due to COVID-19.
While some argue that the cases may have occurred due to lax social distancing measures among those vaccinated, some are doubting the vaccine’s efficacy. Citing that the vaccine has yet to be tested against the deadlier Delta variant. Nevertheless, the fact remains that vaccines are crucial to curbing an outbreak and any vaccine is better than none at all.