Most Indonesians want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 but lack access to doses

About 8 per cent of Indonesians are fully vaccinated.
About 8 per cent of Indonesians are fully vaccinated.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Most Indonesians cited a lack of available doses as the reason why they are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Among those who haven't had their shots, 80 per cent said they are waiting for their appointment, are looking for available doses or have not been able to get inoculated due to other reasons, including health conditions or lack of transport.

In the July survey done by the statistics agency, the other 4.2 per cent said they doubt the vaccine's efficacy while 15.8 per cent are worried about side effects.

The world's fourth-most populous nation seeks to quicken its vaccine roll-out as the coronavirus kills thousands of Indonesians each day. The country tops the world's daily Covid-19 death toll.

As countries like the United States grapple with people refusing to get the shots despite ample access, developing countries are hampered in their pandemic response by the global divide in vaccine supply.

About 8 per cent of Indonesians are fully vaccinated, compared with nearly 50 per cent in the US.

The South-east Asian country plans to administer 2.5 million doses a day in August and September and expects the capital Jakarta and tourist destination Bali to be "100 per cent inoculated" by the end of the month, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, without saying whether he means for both doses or just one.

"The majority of deaths happened among the unvaccinated," he said in a Monday (Aug 2) press briefing.

"Our data shows that the vaccine can make those who would get a severe case get a milder case instead, and those who would get a mild case be asymptomatic."

In a small study done at a public hospital in Jakarta, 88 of the 89 people who died of Covid-19 had not been vaccinated, while one had received one shot. The study involved 928 patients admitted to the hospital from March to June.

Indonesia is mostly relying on the Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech as well as AstraZeneca shots. The country is seeking to become a regional production hub for mRNA vaccines, with a due diligence currently being done by state-owned PT Bio Farma, Prof Sadikin said.

The statistics agency survey on people's views toward vaccination involved 212,762 respondents across Indonesia and was done on July 13 to July 20.