“During the vaccination process, we all must obey the strict rules of the government's health protocols,” head of LIPI's Laboratory for Applied Genetic Engineering and Protein Design, Wien Kusharyoto, told ANTARA in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has revealed that the government will likely commence the first phase of COVID-19 immunization in the third week of December this year.
According to Kusharyoto, the vaccination program would run for a long time owing to Indonesia's large population.
In addition, vaccine supplies may not become available and be distributed to all citizens at the same time, he pointed out.
Therefore, during the waiting period, health protocols must remain strictly implemented to break the chain of potential spread of the novel coronavirus disease in the community, he advised.
Implementing strict health protocols would remain indispensable even after many Indonesians are vaccinated because it is yet to be determined how long antibodies remain in the body after a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, he pointed out.
Ahead of the immunization program, President Joko Widodo has instructed ministries and agencies to conduct nationwide COVID-19 vaccination simulations.
Deputy chair of the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee (KPC-PEN), Erick Thohir, has hinted that the government will soon decide whether COVID-19 red zones would be prioritized under the program.
Speaking at a webinar themed "preparing infrastructure for COVID-19 vaccination data" on Tuesday, Thohir said, in keeping with Presidential Regulation No.99/2020, the government has set a preliminary target of vaccinating those aged between 18 and 59 years.
He also appealed to citizens to participate actively in the government's COVID-19 vaccination program. Research has revealed that 66 percent of Indonesians are keen to get vaccinated, while 16 percent are reluctant to join the vaccination program, he noted.
"I do not know the reasons of those refusing to get vaccinated. Regarding the issues of halal or haram, we have let the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) to resolve this matter," he said.
Indonesia has been striving to contain coronavirus infections, which initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and then spread worldwide, including to nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
Indonesia announced its first infections on March 2 this year.
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.
Indonesia is cooperating with China and the United Kingdom for the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
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. (INE)
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