President Joko Widodo has announced a tentative schedule for the start of the independent vaccination program in Indonesia, in which the private sector will be able to procure COVID-19 vaccines for its employees.
President Jokowis’ administration has publicly supported the independent program to operate concurrently with the fully government-subsidized national mass immunization program to enable the private sector to shoulder some of the financial burden associated with the gigantic enterprise of inoculation of the Indonesian population.
With the second phase of the mass vaccination program underway, the president said independent vaccination may soon follow and run simultaneously.
With a little luck, at the end of February or the beginning of March 2021 at the latest, independent vaccinations can be launched, President Jokowi mentionned at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta yesterday.
Companies that buy vaccines [for the program] can administer free vaccines to employees and their families, Jokowi added, noting that the private sector is not allowed to market the vaccines.
The COVID-19 and National Economy Recovery Management Committee said in a press release today that the Ministry of Health will oversee the procurement and distribution of vaccines for the independent program. Companies are also prohibited from procuring the same vaccines used in the government program to avoid supply disruptions of late.
Indonesia has currently only widely distributed a vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac named CoronaVac, although firm orders have been placed for vaccines from other pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna.
In addition, vaccines are to be administered at private health facilities for the independent program, as state-owned hospitals and clinics will continue to be used for the government program.
There has been some setback to the government’s proposal for the independent program, with vaccine marketing remaining a concern for many despite government assurances. There are also concerns that the independent agenda may amplify the social and wealth disparities in the country and result in some of the less fortunate citizens being overlooked in the long run.
Indonesia aims to vaccinate some 180 million people to trigger herd immunity to COVID-19 by early 2022. The government’s mass vaccination program was launched on January 13 and since On February 18, Indonesia administered the first dose of CoronaVac vaccine to 1,149,139 people, of whom 597,328 received their second of two required doses of the vaccine.
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