A health worker vaccinates a student at SMPN 11, Serpong, South Tangerang on July 14, 2021. (B1 Photo/Ruht Semiono)

Gov’t Boosts Student Vax to Prep for Limited School Reopening

AUGUST 26, 2021

Jakarta. The government is ramping up the Covid-19 vaccine rollout for students to prepare for limited in-person classes in areas with less restrictive curbs. 

Indonesia kicked off its vaccine rollout for adolescents aged between 12 and 17 in July. For this age group, the country seeks to vaccinate 26,705,490 adolescents.

"Since the teacher vaccination had already taken place earlier, now our task is to accelerate the student vaccination ahead of the limited in-person learning in several areas," Communications and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate said in a statement.

According to Johnny, the vaccination will help maximize the protection against the coronavirus. Parents will also feel more secure when they send their children back to school. The government also understands how the kids miss attending in-person classes. 

“It is our collective duty to work together to prepare conducive conditions so that they can return to [schools]. But of course, we have to implement precautionary principles and adapt new habits [to protect their health],” Johnny said. 

Jakarta has vaccinated 93 percent of the targeted students, whereas Yogyakarta’s student vaccination rate has reached 30 percent. In other regions, thousands of students have begun getting their Covid-19 jab — be it in vaccination centers, schools, or independently. 

According to Johnny, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also pays special attention to the student vaccine rollout. 

The president directly observed the student vaccination in Madiun last week and Samarinda on Tuesday. Last week, he also virtually monitored the student vaccination program in 10 districts/municipalities.

“The president stated that the regions should not worry about the vaccine supply. The government continues to work on procuring and distributing vaccines across the archipelago,” Johnny said.

Indonesia’s Covid-19 curbs system follows a level one-four scaling system, with level four being the most stringent. 

As the pandemic subsides, the government has given the green light for schools in areas with level 1-3 curbs to reopen at a limited capacity. The school reopening will refer to the joint ministerial decree signed by the education minister, health minister, home affairs minister, and religious affairs minister. 

Schools in level 1-3 areas and whose students have not gotten the turn for a vaccine can still hold limited in-person learning. They, however, must always keep their guards up and fulfill a checklist of criteria according to the joint ministerial decree. Meanwhile, schools in level four areas still have to stick to remote learning.

“It is important to boost the student vaccination, not only to reach herd immunity but also to protect the nation’s young generation,” Johnny said.

“In addition to the vaccination, in-person learning also has to comply with the joint ministerial decree, such as by observing health protocols, maintaining physical distance, complying with the capacity cap, preventing crowds, and so on,” he added.

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