Jakarta. Indonesia has delivered more than 2.4 million vaccine shots on Wednesday, breaking a new daily record, a day after the government increased its Covid-19 vaccination target to 208.3 million people to include a population aged between 12 and 17 as part of its effort to reach herd immunity against the disease.
When it began the vaccination program in January, the government only targeted to immunize 181.5 million by the end of May next year, considering that the vaccine available at that time — made by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech — was only approved for use among people above 18 years old.
Last month, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) granted emergency use authorization for the Sinovac vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 years, allowing the government to expand the program. If the government managed to achieve the vaccination's target, 77 percent of the country's total population would have an additional layer of protection against the highly contagious disease.
Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Health, said earlier vaccination for children and teenagers would cap the government’s five-step plan to vaccinate the country.
The plan started with a target of 1.46 million health workers in the first stage, 17.3 workers in public and services sectors in the second, 21.5 million elders in the third, and 141.2 million within the general public in the fourth stage. Nadia said vaccination fifth stage would involve more than 26.7 million teenagers. Still, the
The changes in vaccination targets also reflect data changes for other priority groups, such as healthcare workers and public service officers.
"The data will be updated accordingly. In the previous data collection, the health worker could have still been in school, while the new data collected in 2021 could show that he has graduated and entered the workforce. The same goes for data changes collected about public officers,” Nadia said on Tuesday.
Indonesia has vaccinated 38.9 million people with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, data from the Ministry of Health showed. More than 15.6 million of them have also received their second shot.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has set a target of 1 million vaccines shot per day this month and double that amount starting next month. So far, the government has only managed to deliver around 862,000 vaccine shots per day. At that pace, the country would finish vaccinating all the 208.3 million people in April 2021, according to the Globe calculation.
The vaccination pace was languid in the elderly age group. Only 24 percent of them received their first shot, compared to 124 percent in the workers in public and service sectors group, which started taking their shot at roughly the same time.
To speed up vaccination of the elderly, Nadia said the government encouraged those aged 18 and above would come to the vaccination station with their parents or grandparents who have yet to be vaccinated.
"We hope to encourage vaccinations for the elderly through this method,” Nadia said.