Bali needs 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to reach inoculation target

File photo of a COVID-19 vaccine dose. Photo: freepik
File photo of a COVID-19 vaccine dose. Photo: freepik

Bali still needs a shipment of around 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in order to be able to inoculate two-thirds of its population, the governor said, as official case numbers show a decreasing trend in recent weeks.

Nearly 1.35 million people in Bali have received their first vaccine dose as of June 3, data from Indonesia’s Health Ministry shows, while around 646,000 have gotten their second jab by this point. 

Governor Wayan Koster said that the province has received shipments of about 2.7 million doses so far, and thus requires around 3.3 million more to reach its target of vaccinating at least 70 percent of its population of 4.32 million. 

Bali started its mass vaccination program in mid-January, with the initial aim to wrap things up by June 30. At the rate things are going, Koster is reportedly extending the date to July at the latest. 

In March, Indonesia signaled the possibility of opening to foreign tourism by the middle of this year, and government efforts still appear to focus on sticking to this timeline. However, there has been more emphasis lately on its Work From Bali initiative, which is still being hashed out at the official level and may be realized by the third quarter of this year. 

Though numbers from the provincial government in Bali suggest a downtrend of COVID-19 cases and a generally hopeful outlook in terms of fatality and recovery rates, an exclusive report from Reuters published yesterday suggests that official data may represent only a small fraction of the actual severity of the pandemic in Indonesia.

Citing preliminary results from a seroprevalence study conducted by the University of Udayana, the article reports that the rate of infection in Bali is 53 times higher in September and November than what was officially reported.

Public health experts have consistently voiced concerns about Indonesia’s lack of testing and tracing throughout the pandemic, and Bali in particular has not publicly shared data on this front. 

Bali Health Agency Chief, Ketut Suarjaya, said the province is conducting between 500 and 600 tests each day even when labs in the province have the capacity of testing about 2,500 samples daily, noting that tracing efforts have been particularly sub-par. He was quoted as saying that health authorities have only managed to trace back each COVID-19 case to eight or nine people, when the ideal number lies between 25 and 30.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 1.65 million people have received their first jab in Bali. It should have been 1.35 million people. We apologize for the error. 

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