Eijkman-BRIN: Indonesia's Immunity Wall Against COVID-19 Quite High



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaActing Head of the Eijkman Molecular Biology Research Center-National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Wien Kusharyoto, assessed in an online discussion on Wednesday, Jan. 26, that Indonesia's immunity against COVID-19 is quite high.

    “[We’re] not behind developed countries judging from the number of people who have been vaccinated,” said Wien who was the former laboratory head at the LIPI Biotechnology Research Center.

    Wien explained the immunity wall determines the rate of virus transmission and hospital occupancy, and it varies by country. According to him, there are three supporting factors that build immunity.

    The first is the type of vaccine. The mRNA-based vaccine, Wien argued, shows effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as Pfizer and Moderna. The second factor is the vaccination rate, both the primary and booster. The third factor is the immunity produced from natural infections.

    However, Wien also reminded other factors that are inhibiting herd immunity, namely the rapid rate of virus mutation which forces a more frequent vaccine booster, and the changes in viral proteins. “Significant changes [in virus] can make vaccines ineffective, requiring new development and rapid licensing,” Wien remarked.

    Wien also mentioned the immunity wall in the UK and the US. According to him, the UK has built a fairly strong immunity wall against COVID-19, while the US was a bit late in enforcing the booster vaccine program.

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