Vaccine arrivals to push pace of immunization in July-Dec: minister

Jakarta Indonesia’s COVID-19 vaccination program will be greatly challenged by the arrival of 75 percent of fresh vaccine doses between July and December this year, the Health Minister has said.

The government will have no option, but to push the program to its maximum capacity during that period, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told legislators in Jakarta on Monday.

There is a need to increase the vaccination capacity, he said during a hearing with members of the House of Representatives’ Commission IX, which oversees healthcare and manpower.

At least 5.4 million Indonesians have so far received vaccine doses since January 13, 2021, when the government officially launched the national vaccination program.

From January to February this year, Indonesia’s vaccination rate was recorded at between 10 thousand and 100 thousand shots per day owing to the limited availability of doses, the minister said.

During that time, the availability of vaccine doses was recorded at 10 million doses, Sadikin explained, adding that Indonesia has obtained 15 million doses for March and April each.

With these 30 million doses, the number of COVID-19 vaccine recipients could be increased to 100 thousand-500 thousand a day, he said.

“Now, we are inoculating some 300 thousand people. In April, the vaccination rate can hopefully be increased to 500 thousand a day,” he added.

The Health Ministry has set a target of inoculating one million people per day, or 25 million people a month, for May and June this year, he revealed.

Coronavirus infections initially surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Since then, COVID-19 has affected over 215 countries and territories, including 34 provinces of Indonesia, leading to a massive number of fatalities and creating grave public health and economic crises.

To safeguard Indonesians from the lethal virus, the Indonesian government has secured COVID-19 vaccine doses through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms.

Indonesia, for instance, has approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, even as it is working to develop its own vaccine, named Merah Putih (Red and White) after the national flag.

President Joko Widodo was the first recipient of the Sinovac vaccine jab.

To attain herd immunity and free the nation from the clutches of the pandemic, Vice President Ma’ruf Amin has stressed on successfully administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the targeted population.

The Health Ministry has projected that inoculating around 181.5 million people under the vaccination program is expected to take 15 months.

Indonesia’s COVID-19 infection rate has crossed one million cases since January 26, 2021. (INE)

Source: Antara News

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