Medical workers in South Jakarta receive their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Jan, 15, 2021. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Indonesia May Allow Self-Funded Vaccination as Cases Nearing 1 Million

BY :DINA MANAFE & HERU ANDRIYANTO

JANUARY 24, 2021

Jakarta. The Indonesian government is considering allowing companies to initiate vaccination against coronavirus for their employees amid ongoing surge in newly cases that takes the country closer to the grim milestone of 1 million cases.

There have been an additional 11,788 coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 989,262, Health Ministry figures show.

Since mass vaccination commenced on Jan. 13, less than 50,000 people have received the first dose of China’s Sinovac vaccine.

The government has targeted to vaccinate 181 million people or around 70 percent of the population and President Joko Widodo said last month the vaccination drive would be funded entirely by the state budget.

But last week the president hinted that he might allow employers to fund and arrange vaccination program for their workers to allow for broad vaccine coverage, bypassing government’s priority groups of beneficiaries. 

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Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto later said the government is drafting regulation on self-funded vaccination by business entities and stressed that workers should receive the vaccine at no cost.

He also said corporate-sponsored vaccination must procure the vaccine from sources other than suppliers for the government.

When asked about the issue on Sunday, Health Ministry spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmidzi said there has been no final decision yet from the government.

“We are still discussing the plan to see the benefits of self-funded vaccination,” she said.

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Earlier, the president set a deadline until the end of the year to complete the vaccination drive, but it was later extended to March next year due to slower-than-expected response from the supply side.

Southeast Asia’s biggest country is currently in its worst period since the outbreak began. It has recorded 246,000 new cases and nearly 5,700 deaths since the beginning of the month, already setting all-time monthly high.

The virus has killed at least 27,835 people in Indonesia since first cases were confirmed in March.

Newly cases are spiraling beyond control in major hotspots like Jakarta, West Java and East Java, where daily numbers reach four digits.

Jakarta, home to 25 percent of overall cases nationwide, has added more than 60,000 cases in the 24-day period, bringing its total number of cases to just under 250,000.

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Nearly 4,000 people have died of coronavirus in the capital city since the outbreak started.

West Java has been averaging 1,742 cases since January 1 to record a total of 125,376 cases, including 1,517 deaths.

Central Java recorded 33,297 cases month to date for a total of 115,013, including 4,892 deaths.

The highest coronavirus death toll belongs to East Java, where a total of 7,381 Covid patients have died, out of a total of 106,162 cases.

An uptick in cases is also reported by other hotspots like South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, Yogyakarta, Bali and Banten.

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