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Jokowi Gets Chinese Vaccine on Live TV to Kick Off Southeast Asia’s Largest Rollout13/1/2021
The nation is facing the mammoth task of inoculating two-thirds of its 270 million population spread across the world's largest archipelago. It will prioritize 1.5 million health workers and 17.4 million public officers in the first round to be held until April, followed by the rest of the population.
For Sinovac, a Beijing-based developer whose vaccine has also been ordered by Singapore, Hong Kong and Brazil, a successful rollout which leads to lowered fatalities in Indonesia will legitimize the shot globally.
It'll also help realize President Xi Jinping's promise to share Chinese-made vaccines with the world as a global public good in a bid to rehabilitate the Asian giant's image after it was criticized for initial delays in sharing information on Covid-19.
Jokowi's vaccination Wednesday was followed by shots administered to the military and police chiefs, the chairman of the doctors' association as well as ministers, religious leaders and social media influencers.
The nation is under pressure to swiftly administer vaccines as repeated movement restrictions did little to slow the virus spread that's worsened in January after the year-end holidays. The country reported the deadliest day in its outbreak on Wednesday with 306 fatalities, beating the previous record of 302 just the day before. It has added more than 100,000 new infections so far this month, leading in Southeast Asia in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
In addition to the logistical challenge of rolling out vaccines across its vast archipelago, the government will have to contend with reluctance among Indonesians to be inoculated. A survey released in November showed 65% of respondents were willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, while more than a quarter were unsure. The government is shouldering the cost of the vaccines after the survey found only a third were willing to pay for the shots.
(Adds detail on efficacy rate in eighth paragraph.)
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