President Joko Widodo says he’s ready to lead the country by example in vaccine administration, as he has all but volunteered himself to be among the first to be inoculated against COVID-19 amid general concerns about vaccine candidates.
In a virtual public address this morning, Jokowi gave updates on potential vaccines against COVID-19 in Indonesia. He said that healthcare workers will receive first priority for the vaccines, followed by police and military personnel, and other essential workers such as civil servants and teachers.
The president said he could also be among the first to receive the vaccine.
“If the [vaccine] team asks me to be in the frontlines, then I will be ready,” Jokowi said.
Like in many parts of the world, there is a degree of skepticism in Indonesia regarding potential COVID-19 vaccines, mostly due to the unprecedented speed in which they are being developed.
The government has been accused of recklessness in wanting to rush their development and/or procurement from abroad. This is most evident when they announced that Indonesia will start vaccinating people in November even though all promising vaccine candidates are still in the clinical trials stage.
The Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has refused to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) on a vaccine candidate from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, which the government wanted to begin administering to priority recipients in December. BPOM said the EUA will only be issued after the satisfactory conclusion of the vaccine candidate’s clinical trial, which is carried out in West Java, so it’s likely that it can be green-lit for late January 2021.