JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Wednesday received his first Covid-19 vaccine dose, marking the start of a vaccination program for senior citizens in the non-frontline worker's category.
The vaccination program for the seniors only began this month after the Food and Drug Agency or BPOM issued the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to use Sinovac’s Coronavac vaccine for people above 59 years on February 5, following the promising results of the tests in China and Brazil.
"Alhamdulillah [praise be to God], I just got vaccinated. Alhamdulillah, I have no problem, no pain, no dizziness, it’s all good," said the 77-year-old after receiving the Covid-19 shot at his official residence in Jakarta on February 17.
Accompanying him was Doni Monardo, the chief of the national Covid-19 task force and National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, and his deputy Dante Saksono Harbuwono.
Previously, Indonesian health care workers above the age of 60 years received their Covid-19 jab on February 11 as the government prioritizes the frontline workers to get the vaccine.
Calling on senior citizens
“I call on the people of advanced age. I’m over 70 years old [during this vaccination program]. The vaccine, Insya Allah [God willing] will have no side effects,” he said.
“Let us take part in the vaccination program so that the Indonesian citizens are immune to the coronavirus as we are not sure when the Covid-19 will last,” the vice president said.
He said herd immunity could be achieved when 70 percent of the population had been vaccinated against Covid-19. Therefore, the Covid-19 vaccination is mandatory for those who have been screened.
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Meanwhile, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin expressed hope that the elderly would follow the steps taken by Ma'ruf.
“The vice president shows a very good example to the elderly in Indonesia. Hopefully, our seniors will follow,” said Budi.
Vaccination, he said, is not only aimed at protecting ourselves, but also our family, neighbors, and the whole community.
“We have to vaccinate 70 percent of the total population. So, social function is much greater than individual protection," he said.
Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono Harbuwono said that no significant side effects have been reported so far as the government has vaccinated more than a million citizens.
“We will accelerate the Covid-19 vaccination program so that 70 percent or 181.6 million people of our total population will be vaccinated in 12 months,” he said.
(Writer: Deti Mega Purnamasari | Editor: Bayu Galih)