Super immunity is one reason the government is allowing people to take off masks outdoors

Tribunnews reporter Taufik Ismail

TRIBUNNEWS.COM, JAKARTA – Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin explained the government’s background to allowing people to remove their masks outdoors.

Among them, the community’s immunity to the new variant of Covid-19, which is relatively strong.

The health minister said there had been no increase in Covid-19 cases due to the new variant of Omicron BA.2 in Indonesia. While each time a new variant of Covid 19 emerges, such as the Delta and Omicron variants, there is a surge in cases.

“What is interesting for several countries like India and Indonesia is that BA.2 in Indonesia is already dominant in India. But unlike other countries like China and America, we haven’t seen a sharp increase in cases with the new variant. So Indonesia and India have relatively good immunity to the new variants,” said the Minister of Health at a press conference on Tuesday (May 17, 2022).

The government then conducted a serum survey to determine the levels of antibodies already present in the community, particularly in Java-Bali.

As a result, 93 percent of people on Java-Bali already have antibodies. The community antibodies come from government vaccinations or from a Covid-19 infection.

The government continued, the health minister then conducted a second survey before going home for Eid al-Fitr in 2022. As a result, the number of people with antibodies in Java-Bali rose from 93 percent to 99.2 percent. The increase was due to the acceleration of vaccination and the high number of people who have contracted the Omicron variant, so people then have immunity.

“This is due to the combination, which in turn is due to the acceleration of vaccination, but also due to the transmission of omicron, which is much higher than the delta. 20 percent (Omicron transmission rate) is above the delta,” he said.

Also read: Must not wear masks outdoors Health Minister: 99.2% of public have antibodies

Not only the high number of people with antibodies, the Minister of Health continued, but also the antibody levels of each individual are high.

In December, the average antibody level or antibody titer is in the hundreds, which is around 500-600. However, in March it rose to 7000-8000.

The high level of antibodies is because many people who have been vaccinated against Covid 19 are subsequently infected with Covid 19.

“And research from around the world shows that the combination of vaccination and infection forms what the scientific community calls superimmunity. So the immunity or antibody levels are high and can last a long time,” he said.

Based on those considerations, the health minister said, the government has initiated the transition from a pandemic to an endemic one, one of which is to allow people to open masks outdoors. The government takes two aspects into account, namely scientific and practical aspects.

“Scientifically proven by serum tests. Practically, the reality is also evidenced by the decreasing number of cases for the same variant compared to other major countries such as China, Taiwan and America, whose cases for the same variant are still relatively higher than Indonesia,” concluded he.

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