General public to get COVID-19 jabs starting in September: Health Ministry

Photo: Indonesian Health Ministry
Photo: Indonesian Health Ministry

The Health Ministry has announced an updated schedule for its COVID-19 mass vaccination program, with the general public now expected to begin receiving their shots in September.

According to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Indonesia is set to pick up its vaccination rate, which currently stands at around 100,000 shots per day, as it continues to receive shipments of vaccines. 

As of March 7, Indonesia, which currently only has the CoronaVac vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac in circulation, has administered the first of two required doses to 2.8 million people and the second dose to 1.1 million people. Those numbers include 1.46 million health workers who were vaccinated in the first phase of the program, which began in mid-January, and the elderly and essential public workers who have been vaccinated in the ongoing second phase of the program.

According to the ministry, Indonesia has around 30 million doses of CoronaVac in circulation until April, and it aims to be able to vaccinate 100 thousand to 500 thousand people per day by that month’s end. From May to June, an expected 50 million doses of CoronaVac and other vaccines will be available for distribution, which should boost the daily vaccination rate to up to 1 million shots per day.

From July to December, an expected 260 million doses will be available for distribution, meaning Indonesia should be able to administer up to 1.5 million shots per day. In September, the general public, comprising some 97 million people, are expected to begin receiving their shots.

With the ministry’s updated vaccination roadmap, Budi said Indonesia should be able to inoculate 181.5 million people, or 70 percent of the total population, in order to trigger herd immunity against the coronavirus by March 2022 as per the government’s initial target.

If the vaccination rate doesn’t pick up from the current numbers, a Bloomberg projection says that it would take Indonesia 10 years to achieve herd immunity. However, the government has remained adamant that it will be able to boost the country’s vaccination rate in time.

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