Indonesia administers vaccines to almost 2,000 foreign refugees

Indonesia administers vaccines to almost 2,000 foreign refugees

Illustration (ANTARA/Dewa Ketut Sudiarta Wiguna)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government has administered COVID-19 vaccine doses to almost two thousand foreign refugees in a bid to achieve herd immunity, a Foreign Affairs Ministry official has said.

“According to our data, as many as 1,373 refugees have been vaccinated in the first phase and 587 out of 600 refugees have also received the vaccine in the second phase in Jakarta,” the ministry’s human rights and security director, Achsanul Habib, said.

The refugees are mostly residing in Jakarta, Kupang, Tanjung Pinang, East Aceh, Medan and Tangerang, he noted at the virtual media gathering on 'The 2020 Indonesia’s Multilateral Diplomacy Priority, Activity Plan, and Achievement' here on Tuesday.

They have been included in the vaccination program to boost herd immunity since they coexist with permanent residents, thereby herd immunity can be achieved, he revealed.

However, he said that one of the problems faced in vaccinating refugees is they do not have the residential identification number (NIK) akin to legal foreigners, he noted.

Hence, he said that the government has found it necessary to coordinate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deal with such issues.

“From the technical perspective, first, they are categorized as illegal foreigners. So, we need to confirm with the body akin to UNHCR since the vaccination is based on the NIK,” he said.

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There are 16 digits in the NIK, while the refugee identification numbers only have five digits, he said.

Therefore, they cannot be used to log in to the integrated system, such as PeduliLindungi (to care and protect) application, he added.

“Then, we discussed to add zero proceeding the five digits until they count 16 digits,” he remarked.

Habib added that the vaccination program for refugees should not use the state budget (APBN) since its allocation is mainly for Indonesian citizens.

“The refugees are not categorized. We resolved the solution. The Jakarta provincial administration administered the Gotong Royong vaccine for them. The pilot project was October 7-8, 2021. The second one will be by the end of this month,” he pointed out.

As of October 3, 2021, Indonesia has received 39 million additional vaccine doses, taking the total doses received so far to 267 million, the ministry’s multilateral cooperation director general, Febrian A Ruddyard, informed.

“Currently, the government is improving the infrastructure for vaccine hub that will be announced by WHO in 2022,” he remarked.

Related news: 300 foreigners receive first COVID-19 dose at Jakarta City Hall  

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