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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Indonesia begins vaccinating public workers, elderly

Indonesia kicked off the second phase of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday.

The government aims to immunize 16.9 million public sector workers and 21.5 million people aged 60 or above by May.

The new phase started with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, 77, receiving his first dose of the Chinese Sinovac jab in the capital Jakarta and traders being inoculated at the Tanah Abang market, the busiest textile hub in Southeast Asia.

People included in the public worker category are lecturers, teachers, market traders, religious leaders, parliament members, state officials, government employees, police and military personnel, public service officers, public transportation officers, journalists, athletes, and those working in the tourism sector, according to the Health Ministry.

“We hope that public workers, both security forces, market traders, journalists, athletes, as well as workers in shops and malls, will all be vaccinated,” President Joko Widodo said during a visit to the market to monitor the campaign.

Indonesia has made vaccinating the elderly a priority after the National Agency of Drug and Food Control cleared Sinovac’s CoronaVac jab for emergency use on people aged 60 and above.

More than 1.1 million health workers, part of an initial target of 1.49 million, have received COVID-19 shots since Indonesia launched its vaccination drive on Jan. 13.

The country, which has over 1.1 million coronavirus infections and more than 31,000 fatalities to date, aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people in 15 months to achieve herd immunity.

Indonesia has only used CoronaVac in its immunization campaign, but also secured supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines and is also working on a deal for the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

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