Mandatory Booster for 'Mudik' Considered Irrelevant
Member of House Commission IX on Health Netty Prasetiyani. Photo: Tari/Man
Member of the House Commission IX on health Netty Prasetiyani stated that it is irrelevant to make booster vaccine a requirement for traveling home for the Eid holiday, known locally as mudik. According to Prasetiyani, at the moment the pandemic is relatively under control. Half-dose and full-dose vaccinations have also reached above 70 percent, implying higher possibility of herd immunity.
"I don't think it's appropriate to make booster vaccine a condition for mudik," said Prasetiyani in an interview with Parlementaria recently. Currently, the government has set a COVID-19 vaccination target of 208,265,720. When compared with the total target, until Thursday of last week (24/3/2022), the half dose vaccination rate has reached 93.81 percent, compared to 75.06 percent in full dose vaccination. Meanwhile, the third (booster) vaccination rate so far has only reached 8.72 percent of the targeted number.
According to the health commission parliamentarian, the policy will only cause city dwellers looking to go home for the holiday rush for a third jab. "It would be better if the available vaccine supplies are distributed to areas of low vaccination rate. You certainly don't want travellers to get boosted while the family they visit haven't been vaccinated at all," she added.
Current status of the pandemic, said Prasetiyani, can be seen from how the government relaxed its COVID-19 policies. "PCR and rapid antigen tests are no longer a requirement to board a plane, and full dose vaccination now replaces the requirement. Children under 6 years old who travel domestically are also exempted from COVID-19 test requirement. Foreigners and foreign travellers now are not required to quarantine," said the Social Justice Party (PKS) politician.
Furthermore, the West Java VIII electoral district legislator pointed out the fact that the government has hosted world events such as MotoGP. "So it's odd and rather irrelevant if the government suddenly seems to want to tighten rules yet again by making booster vaccines mandatory. Don't burden people with unnecessary rules and make government policies seem out of touch," she asserted.
All things considered, Prasetiyani appeals for an evaluation of the mandatory booster vaccine for traveling purposes policy. "I would suggest that the potentially controversial policy be evaluated before it is implemented. Remember, booster vaccines are not mandatory. It is optional, as stated by the Ministry of Health. So, those who are going home for the holiday should only be required to be fully vaccinated and follow the health measures," Prasetiyani said, concluding her remarks. (agl/rnm/sf)