A health worker unloads a box containing COVID-19 vaccines made by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Jan. 4, 2021. (Photo by Surya Betha/Xinhua)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said COVID-19 vaccination will begin next week and the country has ordered a total of 329.5 million doses of vaccines from pharmaceutical manufacturers of different countries.
by Dames Alexander Sinaga
JAKARTA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — Indonesia will begin administering the doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 13, President Joko Widodo has said recently.
“I want to announce that this vaccination will begin next week,” President Widodo, commonly called Jokowi, said at a meeting with ministers at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The Indonesian government has been distributing vaccines against the coronavirus to all the 34 provinces since Jan. 3, targeting to deliver 5.8 million doses of vaccines this month.
A health worker in protective gears (L) collects a swab sample from a boy at a community health center in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Zulkarnain)
Jokowi said the government has also set a target of distributing 10.45 million doses of vaccines in February again to those regions, and 13.3 million doses in March.
According to him, Indonesia has ordered a total of 329.5 million doses of vaccines from pharmaceutical manufacturers of different countries.
As many as 3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech have been delivered to Indonesia. Of the total, 1.2 million doses arrived in early December 2020, and 1.8 million doses reached the country in late December 2020.
Indonesia has also secured supplies of vaccines from other producers, such as British-Swedish biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Novavax, a U.S. vaccine development company, with 50 million doses each.
The president was scheduled to undergo COVID-19 vaccination on Wednesday next week. He is optimistic that all the provinces would immediately conduct vaccinations after receiving COVID-19 vaccines that will be free of charge for all Indonesians.
Health workers wearing protective suits bring some medicine and clothes before checking asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 at an isolation centre in South Tangerang, Indonesia. Dec. 29, 2020. (Xinhua/Agung Kuncahya B.)
As of Saturday, there have been over 810,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country which is home to the world’s fourth-largest population. The coronavirus has claimed more than 23,000 lives across the archipelago, according to the Health Ministry.
Jokowi emphasized that the government’s strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic remains the same, comprising health treatment, social protection and economic recovery.
“The key to economic recovery is how we can work hard in order to stop and control COVID-19,” he stressed.
The president has instructed all the ministers and governors to ensure the implementation of the health protocols in the public since there has been an indication of decreased disciplines among communities in executing the guidelines.
Indonesia is planning to recruit around 10,000 new health workers, Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto told a press conference on Monday.
Health workers unload a box containing COVID-19 vaccines made by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo by Byma/Xinhua)
The government is also striving to increase the number of beds in regional public hospitals and private hospitals in anticipation of new spikes in cases, said Hartarto, who also chairs the country’s COVID-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery Committee.
At least 500 health workers have died of the coronavirus, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said at a press conference at the State Palace on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry has aimed to complete the inoculations for health workers, who get the main priority, in February before moving to other priorities.
“In the first phase, which is for 1.6 million health workers, we plan to finish it in January and February. The next bigger stages are for 17.4 million public servants and 21.5 million elders,” Sadikin said.
According to the minister, the ministry has set a target of completing the vaccination program for around 181 million people within 15 months, but President Jokowi has challenged the newly appointed minister to get it done faster.
“We will try hard and we need supports from all our friends to do this,” Sadikin said. ■
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