JAKARTA, Indonesia 

Indonesia has earmarked the equivalent of roughly $5.2 billion for its nationwide vaccination program against the novel coronavirus, the country announced Thursday.

Pledging that the vaccination funds would be reallocated from other spending, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said lawmakers had agreed to the decision on the condition that the 2021 government budget does not exceed 5.7% of GDP.

Speaking at a news conference, Mulyani noted that apart from the latest allocation of 73 trillion Indonesian rupees, the government still had 18 trillion rupees left from the 2020 vaccination budget of over 47 trillion rupees.

She underlined that the reallocation of funds for the vaccinations would not interfere with the activities of ministries and local governments.

Earlier on Wednesday, the country’s health minister announced that mass coronavirus vaccinations in Indonesia would start next week, with President Joko Widodo set to be the first person to get the shot.

So far, 3 million doses of China’s SinoVac jab have arrived in the Southeast Asian country pending emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

A total of 763,600 vials of the vaccine have been distributed to 34 provinces over the past three days, so the vaccination could start once authorization is granted.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta.

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