Indonesia will start mass coronavirus vaccination next week, with President Joko Widodo set to be the first person to get the shot, an official announced Tuesday.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told reporters in a meeting in the capital Jakarta that the vaccine campaign will start on Jan. 13 and all Cabinet members and high-ranking officials will receive the jab after the president.
Three groups will be prioritized in the campaign, Sadikin said, namely central and local government officials, members of health professionals’ associations, and religious leaders.
The vaccination of health workers will be conducted simultaneously in 34 provinces starting on Jan. 14-15. It will be divided into two phases, considering there could be side effects such as soreness and fever.
As many as 1.3 million health workers across the country are eligible for early vaccination during the first quarter of 2021.
Sadikin instructed regional heads to supervise the vaccination process on-site to increase public trust.
He also asked the regional heads to prepare the list of people who will be prioritized in vaccination. Overall, the government is planning to vaccinate 181.5 million of its population within 15 months to achieve herd immunity.
So far, three million doses of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Indonesia. However, the vaccination process is still awaiting an emergency use authorization (EUA) 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 can be started once the EUA is granted.
*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service in Jakarta.
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