Though COVID-19 booster shots are not yet available to the general public in Indonesia, government officials, authorities, and their families have jumped the queue to get their jabs, according to Lapor COVID-19.
The group, a civil society coalition that crowdsources coronavirus information throughout the country, said it has received reports of the Moderna booster shot being administered to those who are currently ineligible.
“There is administration of the booster shot to government officials and authorities. Just today, we received a report that the third dose of the vaccine was given to the families of officials and authorities at a private sector office on Jalan Sudirman, Jakarta,” Lapor COVID-19 co-initiator Ahmad Arif said yesterday.
“Interestingly, they told the recipients to keep information [about the booster shot drive] to themselves.”
Under current regulations, only health workers are eligible to receive their booster shot, comprising the mRNA vaccine by Moderna or any other shots deemed most medically suitable for them.
As of Sept. 8, Health Ministry data showed only half of some 1.4 million health workers have received their booster shots since the program began on July 14.
Even hospitals are not closely adhering to the regulations, Arif said, as he pointed to how a private hospital in Jakarta recently promoted a paid booster shot program for the general public. Amid the controversy, the hospital claimed that the promotional material was intended for a future booster shot program and that it had prematurely leaked to the public.
The general public is expected to be able to get their booster shots — which, unlike the fully-subsidized first two doses, they will have to pay for — in early 2022.
Lapor COVID-19 is calling on the government to take this matter seriously for the sake of vaccine equity in Indonesia.
“So, quietly, the elites are getting their third doses. Meanwhile, people outside of Java island are finding it hard to get access to vaccines. Actually, even people in Java are finding it really hard,” Arif said.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!