Jakarta. Indonesia began Tuesday Covid-19 vaccination drive arranged by private firms at the presence of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who expressed hope that the private initiative would help propel the economy which has been contracting in the last three quarters.
The so-called “gotong royong” (mutual works) vaccination program allows companies to procure and distribute vaccine for their own workers.
More than 22,700 companies with around 10 million workers have registered themselves for this program, according to Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Chairman Rosan Perkasa Roeslani.
“Their enthusiasm for this program is infectious that we now have 22,736 companies joining. I expect more to follow by the time this program begins,” Rosan said when accompanying the president at the vaccination site in Jababeka industrial complex, Bekasi, West Java.
Jokowi said the program will accelerate the return to some normalcy among key economic sectors and eventually kick-start the economy.
“We all hope that with all the hard works, we can materialize a growth of 7 percent according to target for the second quarter because all businesses will soon return to normal,” the president said.
Jokowi thanked Kadin and all companies involved in the initiative for arranging free vaccination for their employees.
He said 18 companies had their workers vaccinated on Tuesday using Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine.
“Those companies distribute vaccine to all employees free of charge,” Jokowi said, adding that the program has so far received 420,000 Sinopharm doses.
Among those companies is Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia, the local arm or the Japanese auto giant.
Toyota said it has registered 16,000 employees and their immediate family members with the gotong royong vaccination program, with 3,000 receiving the jab on Tuesday.
The government has targeted to vaccinate 181.5 million people or 70 percent of the population.
“Hopefully by August or September at the latest, at least 70 million people have received the shot,” Jokowi said.
Indonesia has administered 13.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine since the national campaign began on January 13, with around 9 million already receiving double doses.