Indonesians can pay for booster shot in 2022: health minister

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

As it looks increasingly likely that everyone is going to need a booster shot on top of the (mostly) double-dose COVID-19 jab, the general public in Indonesia will also be able to get theirs starting next year. By that time, though, we would have to pay for it.

During a meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR) yesterday, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin outlined the government’s plans for the distribution of booster shots after the conclusion of the fully-subsidized mass vaccination program.

“Up to now, 58 million people have been lucky enough to have received their first jab. And 30 million have received the second shot,” Budi said.

While that is still far from the government’s target of fully inoculating some 180 million people, Budi is still hopeful that can be achieved by early 2022. Indonesia is currently administering around 1 million doses of the vaccine each day.

“If we speed up [the vaccination rate], it is hoped that by January 2022 it will all be done. So early next year we can begin with distributing the booster shot,” he said.

Unlike for the first two shots, the general public will have to fork out some cash for the booster shot. Under President Joko Widodo’s order, the health minister said only low income citizens whose national healthcare premiums are covered by the government will be eligible to receive full subsidy for their booster shot.

“One shot would be US$7 or US$8 each, so it would not exceed IDR100,000. We will open it up to all the vaccine types so the public will be able to choose their booster shot,” Budi said.

Related — Top Indonesian officials let slip that they got their booster shot in livestream video

While having to pay for a booster shot may irk those who expected it to be covered by the government as part of its mass vaccination program, it’s important to note that booster shots were not on anyone’s radar when the program began in January. After all, the Delta variant wasn’t around then to throw a wrench in the world’s plan to return to normalcy through vaccination.

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.

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