In what is being seen as a huge oopsie moment by the Indonesian government, several high-ranked officials in Indonesia may have inadvertently let the whole country know they have gottn their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as revealed in a video that was live streamed on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel.
During the livestream, President Joko Widodo was heard chatting with officials, including Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Hadi Tjahjanto, and East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor, who were accompanying him during an official trip to the provincial capital Samarinda yesterday.
According to reports, the officials were heard talking about all things vaccines, including the matter of booster shots, which, as the government’s own regulations have it, are currently available only to health workers.
During this exchange, Samarinda Mayor Andi Harun said he was planning on trying out the controversial locally-developed Nusantara vaccine for his booster shot, while Hadi told Jokowi that he had gotten his third jab.
“Oh, no wonder you look fresh. The mayor is jumping the line [to get the booster jab],” Jokowi joked with Andi.
Isran, meanwhile, said that he got the mRNA vaccine from Moderna as his booster shot, followed by Prabowo then asking Jokowi: “Everyone has received their booster shots, have you received yours, Mr. President?”
“I haven’t, I’m waiting for the Pfizer vaccine,” Jokowi replied.
The video appears to have been taken down following widespread media coverage of this controversial exchange. The Presidential Secretariat has yet to issue a statement regarding the matter at the time of writing.
Based on a circular issued by the Health Ministry, booster shots are currently allocated to health workers who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, as well as their supporting staff. The Health Ministry’s COVID-19 vaccination spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said today that there have been no recent changes to existing booster shot regulations, though she noted that their distribution is under the authority of regional governments.
Nadia said that her ministry is working with the Financial and Development Supervisory Agency (BPKP) to conduct periodic audits to oversee the distribution chain and management of vaccine stocks.