Indonesia’s elderly hesitant about getting vaccinated

08-May-2021 Intellasia | StraitsTimes | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Indonesia is doing relatively well in vaccinating its general population, although many elderly are hesitant about getting the jab.

Only 2.7 million of the country’s elderly population had been vaccinated by early this month, just one-eighth of the 21.5 million set as the target earlier.

This is despite the fact that seniors are allowed to turn up at any designated facility across the sprawling archipelago for their vaccination without prior registration, among other incentives.

Community mosques and schools have also been activated as part of the government’s efforts to make it convenient for everyone to get the jab.

“A lot of the elderly are not aware of the coronavirus vaccines… so we come to them,” Dr Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a spokesman for the national vaccination programme for Covid-19, told The Straits Times. “Some of them wanted their children to get the shots first.”

Indonesia had planned to start vaccinating the general population only in July.

The inoculation programme kicked off in mid-January for those deemed to be high priority, such as health workers, the police and military, and other public workers getting the jab in earlier batches.

As of Tuesday, the proportion of the country’s population that has received at least one dose of a vaccine was 4.64 per cent, according to and SDG-Tracker, the joint effort between the University of Oxford and the non-profit organisation Global Change Data Lab.

The figure for Indonesia is the highest among countries in South-east Asia with a population of more than 20 million.

Malaysia, for instance, recorded 2.83 per cent, Thailand 1.65 per cent, the Philippines 1.54 per cent, and Vietnam 0.6 per cent. Myanmar had 1.84 per cent as at March 31, the latest data available.

Indonesia has a two-pronged approach in its vaccination programme free vaccines for the wider public and private inoculations for employees funded by private companies. Each programme has been allocated different vaccine brands.

China’s Sinovac is the vaccine sourced by the government, which has also secured supplies of AstraZeneca’s shot from the global Covax facility. Both these vaccines come under the free programme.

The first shipment of China’s Sinopharm vaccine arrived on April 30 and this will be distributed for the private programme.

Many elderly Indonesians have cited costs of transport to clinics as the reason for not being vaccinated, prompting the government to set up booths in local neighbourhoods at public places, such as community mosques and schools, to make it convenient for them. Community leaders and school alumni associations were roped in to help distribute the official flyers.

“We are considering starting the free vaccine programme later this month (two months earlier than planned),” a health ministry official said.


Category: Indonesia

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