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President Jokowi Urges Transparency on Covid-19 Vaccines

October 19, 2020, 11.59 PM

JAKARTA, – The prospect of protests continued to play on President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s mind as the government is set to start Covid-19 vaccinations next November.

The head of state urged officials to give the information on the vaccine correctly and transparently before it is carried out.

“The last thing we need is the public rejecting [the vaccine] because of disinformation and inefficient dissemination of facts,” Jokowi warned during a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace on Monday, October 19.

Also read: Indonesia Hopes to Begin Administering Covid-19 Vaccines by November 2020

“Next thing we know, the [public] will have something else to protest about, especially as many among the public are facing hard times.”

He added that the government needed to highlight other aspects of the vaccine, such as “who gets priority for it, its price and distribution, as well as who should pay for the inoculation and who gets it for free”.

He added that State Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir will deal with the former, while Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto will deal with the latter.

Jokowi reminded his cabinet not to be hasty in communicating the government’s policy, as doing so will reprise the chaos surrounding the Jobs Creation Omnibus Law.

“We need to be mindful about sensitive aspects of the vaccine, such as whether it is halal, its costs and distribution,” he said.

The government projected that 160 million Indonesians will receive the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021. They include 86 million recipients of the Health Care and Social Security Agency or BPJS who are entitled to free vaccinations.

Also read: China's Covid-19 Vaccine Brought to Indonesia for Phase 3 Clinical Trials

Indonesia has finalized the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines from Cansino, G42/Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

The three pharmaceutical companies have agreed to supply Indonesia with vaccines starting in November even though the products are still in the final stage of testing, on grounds that they already received Emergency Use Authorization in a number of countries.

The move was criticized by experts like University of Indonesia epidemiologist Pandu Riono, who criticized the approval of vaccines as hasty, as they have yet to pass clinical tests on their effectiveness against Covid-19 or even if they have any side effects.

(Writer: Ihsanuddin | Editors: Krisiandi, Bayu Galih)


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