JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The fanfare surrounding AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has evaporated days after the company sent a million doses to Indonesia, as the government considers following suit with a number of European countries in suspending the vaccine.
Internal divisions continue to plague the Democrat party, one of Indonesia’s leading opposition parties, after one of its discontented members reported embattled chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono or AHY for fraud.
And religious as well as secular authorities in Pandeglang, Banten moved quickly to shut down the practice of a pre-Islamic ritual, after its adherents were caught practicing the belief in the buff. Read more of these stories, as curated by our editors:
Indonesia to Monitor the Suspension of the AstraZeneca Vaccine in Other Countries
Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito announced that the government is closely monitoring the suspension of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in eight European countries, following reports that the vaccine caused blood clots in 22 people throughout those countries.
“We are following the situation [on the AstraZeneca] vaccine, so if there are side effects [like blood clots], we can share those findings with the National Commission on Post-Immunization Side Effects [Komnas KIPI],” Wiku said on Friday.
“Hopefully, this will help the Food and Drug Agency or BPOM determine the correct precautions before they can pass it onto Komnas KIPI, should a similar situation arise in Indonesia.”
He added that the British manufactured vaccine, which arrived in Indonesia last Monday, should be safe to use for the Indonesian public.
“The European Medicine Agency [EMA] tests on the AstraZeneca vaccine showed no indication that it will cause blood clots,” he said.
“The condition was also not listed as a side effect, while more than 10 million doses of the vaccine is not proven to cause pulmonary embolism or thrombosis for people of any particular age or gender.”
Wiku noted that the vaccine has yet to be used on the Indonesian public, though it received emergency use authorization by BPOM, as its vaccine allocation process by the Ministry of Health is still pending, as are its halal certificate by the Indonesian Ulama Council [MUI].
AstraZeneca sent over a million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Indonesia. Eight countries in the European Economic Zone, namely Denmark, Austria, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Luxemburg suspended the vaccine, following reports that 22 people experienced blood clots as a side effect out of three million people from those countries who already received the vaccination.
Rebellious Democrat Party Members Report AHY to the Police
Democrat Party chairman Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono alias AHY’s week is not getting any easier, after a party member who opposed the former Army major’s stewardship of the party reported him to the police’s Criminal Investigation Agency or Bareskrim.
An attorney for Democrat Party legislator Darmizal said his client reported former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono [SBY’s] son to the police, because “he falsely inserted SBY as a founding member of the party information,” said Rusdiyansyah on Friday.
“When the Democrat Party was founded in 2001, its certificate did not list SBY as a founding member. So we have reason to believe that Agus inserted his father as a founding member sometime in 2020.”
The police said they are still investigating the matter. Darmizal is one of a number of Democrat Party members who revolted against AHY’s chairmanship of the party by convening a rival extraordinary congress in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra.
The rogue members appointed President Joko Widodo’s Chief of Staff Moeldoko as their chairman during the meeting.
The party’s internal divisions hampered it from effectively playing a role as a leading opposition party to President Joko Widodo’s administration, alongside the Social Justice Party or PKS.
Secular and Religious Authorities in Banten Province Crack Down on Pre-Islamic Ritual Bath
Police in Banten province’s Pandeglang regency has detained 16 people who were found performing Hakekok, a pre-Islamic ritual bath that is suspected of cult tendencies by conservative Muslims in the area.
Pandeglang Police Department deputy police chief, Police Commissioner Riky Crisma Wardana said “the 16 persons were holding Hakekok in the middle of a palm oil plantation on Thursday. The participants, who were in the nude, included three children.”
Pandeglang regent Irna Narulita weighed in on the incident. “The revival [of Hakekok] is cause for concern, as it occurred in Pandeglang, an area known for its [devout] adherence of Islam,” she said on Friday, March 12.
“We will work together with the local branch of the Indonesian Ulama Council [MUI] to provide guidance for the participants of the ritual.” Hamdi Maani, the head of MUI’s Pandeglang branch, agreed and highlighted its cultlike characteristics.
However, he maintained that the leader of the group was contrite. “The head of the Hakekok practitioners, who was identified as an individual named Arya, claimed to have seen the error of his ways. He also wished to come back into the [Islamic] fold.”
Hamdi maintained that the incident marked a comeback of Hakekok, after MUI stamped out the practice a few years ago.
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