Indonesia to start vaccinations on Jan 13 with Jokowi first


President Joko Widodo is set to get vaccinated against the coronavirus on Jan. 13, which would kick off Indonesia’s inoculation program.

Jokowi, as he’s commonly known, will receive the shots along with public and army representatives as a way to build confidence in the vaccine, said Heru Budi Hartono, head of the presidential secretariat. The event will be televised for the people to witness, he added.

Indonesia is seeking to begin the vaccination program as soon as possible as it grapples with the largest coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia with more than 770,000 cases confirmed so far.

China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. has shipped 3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the country. Now, the government is waiting on the local food and drug regulator to issue emergency use authorization for the shots to begin inoculating its population, with a target of reaching 181.5 million people by March 2022. Jokowi has called on the cabinet to shorten that timeline further.

Even before the regulator’s approval, the government has started distributing the vaccines to its 34 provinces spread across the world’s largest archipelago.