President Joko Widodo ushers Indonesia’s mass vaccination program with first CoronaVac jab

President Joko Widodo receiving the CoronaVac vaccine on Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Video screengrab from Youtube/Sekretariat Presiden
President Joko Widodo receiving the CoronaVac vaccine on Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Video screengrab from Youtube/Sekretariat Presiden

President Joko Widodo this morning received a jab of the CoronaVac vaccine, officially launching Indonesia’s mass vaccination program against COVID-19.

The vaccination ceremony was held at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta. The president was the very first to receive the vaccine — produced by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac — followed immediately by several top officials, including Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, National Police Chief Idham Azis, and Armed Forces Commander Hadi Tjahjanto.

Others who received CoronaVac at the Presidential Palace this morning comprised “key opinion leaders” in public health, which included celebrity/influencer Raffi Ahmad. Key religious leaders were also given the vaccine.

The recipients are scheduled to receive their mandatory second dose of CoronaVac in two weeks.

Over the next two days, the government plans to vaccinate key officials, public health opinion leaders, and religious leaders throughout Indonesia’s 34 provinces.

From this month until April, the government aims to vaccinate 1.3 million healthcare workers throughout the country, as well as other COVID-19 frontliners, including police and military personnel and other essential workers. The elderly may start to get the jab during this period should a vaccine proven to be safe for the advanced age group be available.

From April 2021 to March 2022, working age adults (18-59) will be vaccinated. Those with socioeconomic risks will be given precedence over others in this age group. Indonesia says it aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people by 2022 to trigger a herd immunity against the coronavirus.

Indonesia previously said that it has secured 290 million doses of CoronaVac, which will be gradually delivered until the end of 2021. The country has also ordered vaccines from five other pharmaceutical firms, including Pfizer and Moderna.

CoronaVac only received emergency use authorization (EUA) in Indonesia on Monday, two days before the start of the country’s mass vaccination program. Indonesia’s clinical trial of the vaccine has not yet concluded, though interim results show that CoronaVac has an efficacy rate of 63.5 percent.

Related — Indonesia receives shipment of CoronaVac raw materials from Sinovac ahead of mass vaccination program

Editor’s Note: Added detail about mandatory second dose of the vaccine.

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