President orders immediate utilization of remaining vaccine stocks

President orders immediate utilization of remaining vaccine stocks

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo has directed local governments, the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), and the Indonesian Police (Polri) to use up 19 million COVID-19 vaccine doses kept as reserve immediately, the Health Minister said.

"He understands that vaccine stocks are being held in the regions as second jab reserves at 19 million. He has instructed that they be used up immediately because more vaccines are arriving," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said at an online press conference following a limited cabinet meeting chaired by the President here on Friday.

The vaccine stocks in the regions totaled 75 million doses previously, of which 56 million doses were administered to 40 million people, Sadikin informed. The remaining 19 million doses were planned to be used to administer the second shots, he added.

By the end of August, 2021, it is estimated that Indonesia will receive 30 million additional vaccine doses, he said.

The availability of sufficient COVID-19 vaccines is crucial as the President has ordered that vaccinations be expanded to cover two million people per day, he added.

"The President's directive is that all regional governments, the TNI, Polri immediately use this stock of 19 million doses," Sadikin said.

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Since mid-June, 2021, Indonesia has been battling a drastic spike in COVID-19 cases following the spread of the Delta variant in the world's fourth most populous nation of over 270 million people.

The Task Force for COVID-19 Handling on Friday recorded 56,757 daily cases, bringing the tally to 2,726,803. With 982 Indonesians succumbing to the virus in a single day, the death toll reached 70,192.

As of July 15, 2021, a total of 15.8 million Indonesians have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 39.6 million others have received their first shots, mostly of the Sinovac vaccine bought from China, under the vaccination drive being conducted since January 13, 2021, it said.

Indonesia has also begun to receive other vaccines, including 14.7 million AstraZeneca doses, donated by Japan and supplied through the COVAX facility; 3 million Moderna vaccines, donated by the US this July; and, Sinopharm vaccines, partly donated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The remainder have been bought by the country's private sector to support the government's vaccination program, the task force said.

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