Starting from March 2021, companies in Indonesia will be allowed to proceed with their own vaccination programmes for employees, following a recent statement from the President, in which he gave the green light to independent, private Covid-19 vaccinations. The decision reflects the Indonesian government’s determination to fast-track immunity, so they can reopen the economy and revive the tourism industry as soon as possible.
Under the new arrangements, corporations operating in the private sector will also be able to procure Covid-19 vaccines for their employees. The government’s own mass vaccination programme is already entering its second phase, and officials insist the private vaccinations will be able to run concurrently without any major complications or conflict of interest. According to the president, private vaccinations are expected to begin imminently.
“Hopefully in late February or early March 2021 at the latest, independent vaccinations can be launched,” said President Jokowi in a statement at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on 17th February. “Companies that purchase vaccines can administer free vaccinations to employees and their families,” he added.
To avoid conflict of interests or disruption to the government programme, the private operations will not be allowed to use the same vaccines as the state. Companies will be prohibited from selling the vaccines; their provision must be a free service for employees only. State-owned hospitals and clinics will be devoted to the government vaccinations, while independent inoculations will be administered in private healthcare facilities. To make sure the two programmes adhere to these conditions, the Health Ministry will oversee procurement and distribution of vaccines for both. These stipulations were confirmed recently via a press release from Indonesia’s Covid-19 Handling and National Economy Recovery Committee.
The first phase of the government’s mass vaccination programme officially began on 13th January 2021. To date, the CoronaVac vaccine has been administered to over a million people nationwide, with around half of them also receiving the second dose that ensures immunity to Covid-19. The plan is to vaccinate around 180 million people by the end of the year. The CoronaVac vaccine has been developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac; Indonesia has also placed orders for vaccines with other pharmaceutical firms, including Pfizer and Moderna.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic nation, with a population of around 270 million people scattered around 17,000 islands that cover an area as wide as the United States. The sheer scale of Indonesia, combined with the logistical problems associated with infrastructure, make nationwide inoculation programmes a major challenge. To help resolve these difficulties, the government is approaching the problem of vaccination programmes from multiple directions and spreading its net as wide as possible; through a state-led rollout of vaccinations for frontline health professionals, essential workers and at-risk populations; and now through privatised inoculation programmes.