The chief of Bali Health Agency said those who refuse to be inoculated against COVID-19 in the province will not be fined, as Indonesia begins its mass vaccination program this week.
“For Bali there will be no sanctions, we will prioritize raising awareness and we hope the public will do it voluntarily for our collective good,” Ketut Suarjaya said yesterday.
Just on Monday, however, deputy minister for Law and Human Rights Edward OS Hiariej said that Indonesians may face up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of IDR100 million (US$7,100) for refusing to be vaccinated, according to the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.
Other regions like Jakarta have even issued their own regional bylaw on the matter, with the capital set to impose a fine of up to IDR5 million (US$355) for those refusing COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Indonesians.
This morning, President Joko Widodo became the first person in Indonesia to receive the vaccine — produced by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac — followed immediately by other top officials, such as Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, National Police Chief Idham Azis, and Armed Forces Commander Hadi Tjahjanto.
Suarjaya said a number of Bali’s top officials will also be among the first to receive the vaccine in the province.
“This is so that the public will be reassured, that every member of society will be vaccinated, including public officials,” Suarjaya said.
Bali has so far received 51,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines from Sinovac, which were delivered in two batches last week.
Sinovac’s vaccine, called CoronaVac, only received emergency use authorization (EUA) in Indonesia on Monday, two days before the start of the country’s mass vaccination program. Indonesia’s clinical trial of the vaccine has not yet concluded, though interim results show that CoronaVac has an efficacy rate of 63.5 percent.