The Indonesian Medical Association said that at least 10 of the 26 Indonesian doctors who died from the new coronavirus infection in June this year had been vaccinated with the Chinese Coxing new coronavirus vaccine, and were two doses into it. This again raises questions about the effectiveness of the China Coxin vaccine used in many developing countries.
Adib Khumaidi, head of the Indonesian Medical Association’s New Coronavirus Mitigation Team, said efforts are still underway to verify the vaccination status of the other 16 people, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to the team’s latest data, at least 20 doctors who were fully vaccinated with the Coxin vaccine have died from the new coronavirus infection in the past five months, accounting for more than one-fifth of doctor deaths in the same period.
The number of related deaths is likely to rise further in the coming weeks, the report said. Indonesia is currently battling a surge in confirmed cases of new coronavirus infections, with hospitals across the country packed with patients.
Some epidemiologists say these deaths need to be properly investigated to determine if factors such as poor hospital care or chronic underlying illness are the main causes. They also say more data is needed, including a total of how many doctors who received the Coxin vaccine were infected. Indonesia’s health ministry says it does not track this data. The Indonesian Medical Association said about 90 percent of the roughly 160,000 Indonesian doctors have been vaccinated with the Chinese Coxin vaccine.
Some medical experts said the deaths of doctors who had been fully vaccinated against the new coronavirus were not necessarily shocking because a combination of factors may have been involved, including that the Coxin vaccine was not as effective as other vaccines on the market and that Indonesian hospitals were not equipped and medically competent enough to handle severe cases of infection, among other things, the report said.
An Indonesian government spokesman said the deaths of the vaccinated doctors needed to be carefully investigated to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the Coxin vaccine.
Indonesia relies heavily on the Chinese Kexin vaccine to control the outbreak. The World Health Organization approved emergency use of the Chinese Kexing vaccine on June 1 this year, saying data submitted by Kexing showed that 51 percent of those vaccinated were protected against the onset of symptoms. WHO officials said the minimum standard of effectiveness for a vaccine suitable for emergency use is 50 percent. The WHO also said it could not assess the vaccine’s effectiveness in people over 60 because few people in that age group participated in the trial.
The widely varying degrees of efficacy of the Coxin vaccine in different clinical vaccination trials and the lack of transparency in data about the vaccine have led some public health experts to question the effectiveness of the Coxin vaccine.
Previously, Reuters reported in mid-June that Indonesian officials said more than 350 doctors and medical personnel in Central Java province contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) despite having received the Chinese Coxin vaccine, with dozens of them requiring hospitalization. Concerns are growing about the effectiveness of Coxin and some other vaccines against the more contagious variant of the virus.
Badai Ismoyo, health director of Gutushi district in Central Java province, Indonesia, said most of the health care workers diagnosed were not ill and were in self-isolation at home, but dozens were hospitalized with high fever and decreased oxygen saturation, the report said.
The recent outbreak of a new wave of a more contagious variant of the virus known as Delta in the Gutushi region, which has more than 5,000 health care workers, has left the region with a bed occupancy rate of more than 90 percent.
Indonesia is one of the countries with the worst outbreak in Asia. As of Monday, there were more than 2 million confirmed cases, including more than 53,000 deaths, and hospitalization rates in Jakarta and other areas with severe outbreaks exceeded 75 percent.
Health care workers designated as a priority group were among the first in Indonesia to be vaccinated when the vaccination began in January of this year. However, at least 1,000 health care workers have already died, leaving Indonesia’s health care system devastated.
Experts are concerned about the large number of health care workers who must be hospitalized, saying it appears to mean that the Chinese vaccine may lack protection against a variant of the Delta virus.
The Reuters report said there was no immediate response from China’s Kexing and Indonesia’s health ministry to questions about the effectiveness of the Kexing vaccine against the newer variant of the virus.
It was also reported that Costa Rican health officials said June 16 that after evaluating clinical study reports on the China Kexing vaccine, they concluded that the vaccine’s efficacy against the newer coronavirus infection was not high enough and decided not to adopt it at this time. Previously, some countries have continued to have high rates of New Coronavirus infection after mass vaccination of their populations with the Coxin vaccine.
By late May, China had provided 165 million doses of the Neocon vaccine to Latin American countries, which is seen as part of Beijing’s efforts to seize the moment and implement vaccine diplomacy to increase its influence in the “U.S. backyard” while inducing or forcing vaccine recipient countries to implement policies more favorable to China.
Currently, the majority of the vaccinated population in Latin America is using vaccines from China. However, Latin America and the Caribbean remains one of the worst regions in the world in terms of population share for the new crown epidemic.