As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia continues to rise, Indonesia falls in the top 20 countries with the highest COVID-19 cases. In March 2021, the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) initiative provided its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations in Indonesia. The widespread distribution of vaccines brings hope for the country’s recovery as COVID-19 has severely impacted the Indonesian economy and pushed many into poverty. COVID-19 vaccinations in Indonesia bring the country one step closer to recovery and normality.
10 Facts About the Indonesian COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
- The first shipment of more than one million doses allocated to Indonesia under the COVAX initiative arrived in Indonesia on March 8, 2021, as part of more than 11 million doses allocated to the country.
- The shipment of vaccinations in Indonesia is part of the largest vaccine procurement and supply process of all time. Immunizing the world against COVID-19 is the most significant global vaccination attempt in history.
- Indonesia has initiated one of the world’s biggest immunization programs, aiming to vaccinate 181.5 million citizens in a period of 15 months. This equates to two-thirds of its population.
- COVID-19 vaccines have been requested by the Indonesian government from several companies as well as through the COVAX initiative.
- Indonesia has been included in COVAX’s Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) group. The AMC ensures that 20% of the country’s most vulnerable population will have access to COVID-19 vaccines by the close of 2021.
- There is a concern about logistical difficulties hindering COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Indonesia. COVID-19 vaccines would have to be transported from the country’s capital of Jakarta to more than 10,000 health centers throughout Indonesia. Some of these facilities are in remote locations and have limitations in terms of logistics, infrastructure, storage and other essential resources.
- Vaccine storage capabilities in Indonesia present another challenge as there are specific temperature requirements in order to preserve the effectiveness of the vaccines.
- Indonesian people have been open to child immunization, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about vaccine hesitancy. There are concerns about whether such vaccines would be considered halal as Indonesia’s population is predominantly Muslim. Other fears stem from misinformation and misconceptions about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines.
- Indonesia aims to prioritize health workers, police officers, teachers and other civil officials as it implements its COVID-19 vaccination program. The population younger than 60 will be next in line as Indonesia’s approach does not prioritize the elderly. The logic behind this is by slowing the spread in younger people, the elderly will be protected from getting COVID-19 via close relatives. This is because many households are intergenerational, which means separating the old from the young is nearly impossible.
- To improve vaccine equity, the COVID-19 vaccine campaign is using live tracking systems to register vaccine recipients, monitor COVID-19 exposure and easily spot gaps and issues.
The Road Ahead
The COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Indonesia is the first step to COVID-19 recovery for both the people and the economy. With immunity, the strain on Indonesia’s healthcare system and resources will hopefully be alleviated. With economic recovery, the pandemic-induced unemployment rate will go down and businesses will strengthen, contributing to overall poverty reduction in Indonesia.
– Mary McLean