The Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Bali has been very successful. In Badung province the Covid-19 Task Force is now offering vaccine boosters to senior citizens. Although vaccine uptake has been positive throughout Bali, the demographic that has expressed the most hesitancy is the elderly. It is hoped that this focused effort to offer booster vaccines to the elderly will also operate as a catch-all for those who have not yet had their first vaccines.
According to I Gusti Ngurah Gede Jaya Saputra, a spokesperson for the Badung Covid-19 Task Force, the uptake in the elderly in the area has been just 43.7%. The booster vaccine uptake across the population has been 60% with healthcare professionals hitting 100%. Saputra is confident that the elderly demographic will catch up with their renewed efforts.
While sharing the statistics of the vaccination program so far, Saputra announced that as of 8th May 2022, 543,084 people in Badung had received their first vaccine, and 494,545 of those have also received their second vaccine. Patients are considered fully vaccinated after two doses. He continued to say that 211,009 people had taken their booster shot too.
The Badung Covid-19 Task Force is keen to see an increase in the uptake of the booster vaccine in the elderly, especially as many of the younger citizens of the province return to work. In Bali, it is commonplace for families to live in multi-generation homes. With many of the workforce working in the tourism sector, and with borders now open for travelers, the Covid-19 Task Force foresee the need to give as much protection to the elderly population as possible.
The vaccine clinics are also a space where updated information can be shared about health and hygiene protocols. Such protocols go a long way in ensuring the elderly are being protected in their own homes.
There is now no mandatory quarantine for travelers entering Bali unless they test positive at the airport on arrival. Travelers must present their vaccine certificate and a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 48-hours before their flight. Those who are not vaccinated must present immigration officers with a negative PCR test taken no more than 48-hours before they arrive in Bali.
Last week, four provinces in Bali reported no new cases of Covid-19 and no deaths. The government and the general public are conscious that these numbers may rise in the coming months not only due to the influx of tourists but due to increased movement of people throughout the provinces. Increasing the distribution of vaccines in the rural, vulnerable and elderly populations is the focus of the localized Covid-19 Task Forces.
In these new times, the percentage of citizens vaccinated is also a metric used by travelers to decide if they want to visit a place. This comes as a safety precaution for travelers for their own health and out of concern for the local people in the area where they will be traveling. Authorities need to be able to demonstrate that they have localized outbreaks of Covid-19 under control, that sufficient protocols are in place and that vaccine rollout continues to flow should they wish to make prospective travelers feel confident in their decision to book a trip to Bali.
Since borders officially reopened in February, and the visa on arrival program resumed in April, visitor numbers have slowly increased. Over the Eid Al-Fitr weekend, tourist numbers were the highest they had been since the pandemic began and hotel occupancy hit 60%. The tourism sector in Bali is hopeful that with the upcoming Australian school holidays that these numbers will continue to steadily rise.
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