Financially-capable Indonesians urged to pay for COVID-19 vaccine

Financially-capable Indonesians urged to pay for COVID-19 vaccine

The government plans to issue COVID-19 vaccines under the government-aided program as well as the self-initiative vaccination program. (ANTARA/REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/aa) (REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir has appealed to Indonesians who are financially capable to pay for their COVID-19 vaccine doses to help reduce the financial burden on the government due to the vaccination program.

“Due to our large number of population, those who are financially capable are suggested to assist the government by paying the costs of their own COVID-19 vaccine doses,” he told a webinar here on Tuesday.

Speaking at the webinar themed "preparing infrastructure for COVID-19 vaccination data", Thohir said the government will issue two types of COVID-19 vaccines — one through the government-aided and the other through the self-initiative vaccination program.

The government's aid-based vaccination program has been prepared for health workers and eligible members of communities as revealed in data from the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) on assistance recipients, he informed.

Meanwhile, the self-initiative vaccination program is meant for financially-capable people, said Thohir, who is also deputy chair of the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee (KPC-PEN).

The government has been preparing all necessary measures to conduct the COVID-19 vaccination program in the near future, the minister added. It has set a preliminary target of serving people aged between 18 and 59 years.

However, this is just a preliminary target, he said, adding that those aged over 59 years may likely get vaccinated later with other vaccine products.

Indonesia has been striving to win the fight against the novel coronavirus disease, which initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and then spread across the world, including to nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Indonesia officially announced its first infections on March 2 this year.

Early this week, the Task Force for COVID-19 Response confirmed that Indonesia had recorded 4,198 additional recoveries and 4,442 fresh cases of COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours.

The Indonesian government has consistently expressed confidence in the potential of the COVID-19 vaccine for helping win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has posed a grave threat to public health and the economy.

Over the past few months, the government has been working to secure potential COVID-19 vaccines for Indonesians through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The government is also supporting research efforts towards developing the country's own COVID-19 vaccine, Merah Putih (Red and White), named after the colors of the national flag.

In addition, Indonesia is cooperating with China and the United Kingdom for the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

To prepare for the first phase of the COVID-19 immunization program, scheduled in the third week of December, 2020, President Joko Widodo has instructed ministries and agencies to conduct nationwide COVID-19 vaccination simulations. (INE)

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