Indonesia hits 150 million mark in Covid-19 vaccine jabs

Indonesia is aiming to complete between 350 million and 400 million Covid-19 vaccine shots by January 2022. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - Indonesia has reached the 150 million mark in Covid-19 vaccine shots administered, overtaking Japan as the country with the fifth highest number of jabs in a global ranking.

"This is due to optimal joint efforts by all parties, especially the police force, military, provincial and regency governments, state-owned enterprises and the private sector," Health Minister Budi Sadikin said on Wednesday (Oct 6). "We continue to have talks on how to further accelerate vaccination rate."

Indonesia, South-east Asia's most populous nation with 270 million people, has set a target to vaccinate 208.3 million or everyone aged above 12 with no underlying medical conditions.

It is aiming to complete between 350 million and 400 million shots by January, the health minister told journalists, pointing out that on some days in September, daily vaccination rate reached two million shots.

Indonesia has largely relied on China's CoronaVac for its national vaccination programme that kicked off in mid-January 2021. Since then, it has also turned to other vaccine types, including Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

When Indonesia reached the 100 millionth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on Aug 31, the World Bank said: "It is a major milestone for one of the most Covid-19 affected countries in the world, with about 270 million people and a challenging archipelagic geography."

China, India, the United States and Brazil are currently the top four countries in terms of the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered, according to the Our World in Data.

Meanwhile, many Indonesian tycoons who have been staying in Singapore practically throughout the pandemic are making plans to return home, a government official told The Straits Times on condition of anonymity.

An adviser to an Indonesian tycoon also told ST in a mobile phone message that the Indonesian tycoons who have had a long stay in Singapore were making plans to resume travel to Indonesia and other places.

Indonesia is gearing up to reopen its main tourist island of Bali to foreign visitors by the middle of this month.

Currently, only foreigners with diplomatic or employment visas are allowed to enter Indonesia. Other exceptions include medical workers on humanitarian missions and shipping cargo crew.

ST understands that the US has asked Indonesia to promptly reopen to foreign visitors.

Currently, the government imposes an eight-day mandatory quarantine on travellers, requiring anyone arriving in the country to show a hotel booking.

Indonesia managed to bring under control the latest wave of Covid-19, triggered after Hari Raya in May. The seven-day average for infections peaked in mid-July, with 50,000 cases daily. The number has plunged to 1,700 now, about half of Singapore's daily case number on Tuesday (Oct 5).

Indonesia's death rate has similarly dropped from the seven-day average peak of 1,700 in early August to around 100 in recent days.

Like in countries such as India, Britain and the United States, Indonesia reeled from the highly transmissible Delta variant this year. The most deadly variant known so far, which was first detected in India, reached Indonesia around March and, from June, accounted for more than 90 per cent of total cases detected.

The country has over 4.2 million cases of Covid-19 so far, and more than 142,000 deaths.

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