WORLD Indonesians eagerly await jabs

WORLD

Indonesians eagerly await jabs

China Daily

10:27, March 15, 2021

An Indonesian soldier receives a dose of China's Sinovac Biotech vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during a mass vaccination program at a sport hall in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 10, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Businesses see vaccinations as key to better productivity and economic fillip

A. Ferri Wahyudi Limputra is elated about Indonesia's Mutual Help program against COVID-19 as the country awaits more vaccines from China and elsewhere.

"We in the business community feel happy because we're no longer in the dark about when our workers will get vaccinated," said the chief executive officer of PT Pura Mayungan Group of Jakarta.

"Although we and our workers will still have to keep wearing masks, washing our hands and maintain physical distancing after we are vaccinated, getting inoculated will make us feel a lot more at ease and help us get on with our work."

His company makes electrical power distribution products and is a leading partner of the state electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara.

On Feb 24, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin issued a decree that allows private companies to buy vaccines from the government and then get their workers as well as their relatives vaccinated free of charge.

The country is battling COVID-19 in all of its provinces. Confirmed cases rose by 4,607 within one day to 1,414,741, with the number of deaths rising by 100 to 38,329, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

On March 2 the ministry announced that a variant of COVID-19 which first detected in the United Kingdom had been found in Indonesia.

The Mutual Help program aims to speed up vaccination and designates the China-made Sinopharm vaccine for company workers. The vaccines Novavax and Moderna, supply details of which are still being negotiated, will also be part of the program.

Pura Mayungan was among more than 8,300 companies that had registered by the first week of this month with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to be included in the vaccination drive.

If all things go well, inoculation for workers may start next month. That would require approval from the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency and a "holy and halal" certificate from the Indonesian Ulema Council.

More to arrive

Honesti Basyir, president director of the state-owned vaccine maker PT Bio Farma, said on March 9 that 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine would arrive in Indonesia between late March and early April, with another 15 million doses due in June.

Adrianto P. Adhi, the president director of the publicly listed property company PT Summarecon Agung Tbk, said workers needed to be inoculated as soon as possible.

"With the Mutual Help program workers' health can be maintained and they can work more productively, meaning businesses can recover more quickly, helping the Indonesian economy to rebound."

Summarecon, one of Indonesia's largest property companies, has about 4,200 of its workers waiting to be vaccinated.

Indonesia has imported 38 million doses of the vaccine, part of 186 million doses the government has ordered. On March 2, 10 million CoronaVac doses-made by China's pharmaceutical firm Sinovac-arrived in Jakarta, the fifth batch since December.

PT Bio Farma is responsible for the shipment of the products to provincial offices. Distribution from provincial levels down to village health centers falls to local offices of the health ministry, said Iwan Setiawan, head of the state-owned corporate's communications.

No serious side effects of Sinovac vaccines have been reported in the country.

The ministry has provided the elderly and workers in the tourism industry with drive-through services, for the time being only in Jakarta and on the resort island of Bali.

"With the drive-thru services, the elderly will not queue and go far to health facilities to get vaccinated," the Indonesian COVID-19 mitigation task force's spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said.

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