Gotong Royong independent vaccination program to launch on May 17 with IDR500K shots

Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm. Photo: Shutterstock
Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm. Photo: Shutterstock

The Indonesian government has chalked May 17 as the start date for the country’s independent vaccination program, in which companies can procure vaccines from the government to be distributed at no cost to their employees.

In a press briefing yesterday, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, who also heads the National Economic Recovery and COVID-19 Response Team, outlined the price of a single dose in the independent vaccination program, locally known as “Vaksinasi Gotong Royong” (mutual assistance vaccination).

“The price has been set at IDR375K (US$26.43) per dose, and IDR125K (US$8.81) for the administration of a shot. The total for each dose is IDR500K (US$35.24),” he said.

For the program, the government has received half a million doses from Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm out of an expected 7.5 million doses. The World Health Organization (WHO) has authorized emergency use of the inactivated virus vaccine for people over the age of 18 with three-to-four-week intervals between two shots. A clinical trial of the vaccine in the UAE showed that it has a 78 percent efficacy rate and posed minor side effects.

In addition, the government says it is procuring 5 million doses of a single-dose vaccine from Chinese vaccine company CanSino Biologics. A clinical trial of the vaccine in Pakistan showed that it is able to limit severe COVID-19 cases by 90.98 percent.

The Vaksinasi Gotong Royong program was approved to speed up vaccine coverage in the country alongside the government’s national mass vaccination program, which has administered fully-subsidized vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac and Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to healthcare workers, essential workers, the elderly, and the general public. The government also hopes that Gotong Royong would see corporations alleviate some of the financial burden from the state. 

The rules of the Gotong Royong program state that companies must not burden employees with the cost of the vaccines.

As of May 10, some 22 million jabs have been administered under the mass vaccination program, 8 million of which represent the second dose. Indonesians are currently being vaccinated at a rate of below 500,000 people per day, which is below the 1 million daily target considered necessary to inoculate 70 percent of the population of roughly 270 million and trigger herd immunity by early 2022.

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