Expired Covid-19 shots binned as Indonesia eases back to normalcy

About nine million doses were set to expire by the end of May. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Once precious Covid-19 vaccines, now expired, will be destroyed to make way for routine children's immunisations in Indonesia as coronavirus worries ease.

"Our storage facilities are feeling the strain as they're filled with expired doses," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a Tuesday (May 31) briefing.

"That's especially as we have a new campaign to push for basic vaccination for children across the country."

About nine million doses were set to expire by the end of May, ministry spokesman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said earlier this month.

Indonesians are waiting for the government to lift all restrictions as the virus threat recedes.

More than three out of five Indonesians have gotten two Covid-19 vaccine shots, while 17 per cent have had a third dose.

Most curbs have been removed except for limits on capacity and opening hours in some areas, and people are allowed to wear no masks while outdoors.

The Health Ministry recommends that the restrictions be lifted only once 70 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated, from about 65 per cent currently, and the virus's reproduction rate remains at or below one for three consecutive months, Mr Sadikin said.

The rate has been around that level for two months.

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