Indonesia Races to Meet Vaccine Goal as Delta Spurs Record Case


Indonesia is speeding up vaccination to reach herd immunity as the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus continued to tear through the country.

Vaccination rate in the capital Jakarta, the local virus hotspot, is reaching 70% and its curve of new cases has begun to flatten, Luhut Panjaitan, a senior minister in charge of pandemic response in the economic centers of Java and Bali said in a briefing Thursday.

Indonesia is hoping to achieve herd immunity when 70% of its 270 million population is vaccinated. It administered a record-high 2.4 million doses on Wednesday. Still, its daily average for July has hovered at less than 850,000 shots, below its 1-million-a-day target. The government wants to raise that benchmark further to 2 million in August and 2.5 million afterwards.

Indonesia’s daily infection numbers exceeded India’s this week, cementing its position as a new Asian virus hotspot. Southeast Asia’s biggest economy has seen its daily case count cross 40,000 for four straight days — including another record high of 56,757 on Thursday. Its daily average so far this month triples the daily average in June, health ministry data show.

“We are entering our worst-case scenario” of 70,000 daily cases, said Panjaitan. “We are hoping they won’t exceed 60,000.”

Mobility has started to reduce and will likely achieve an ideal level in two to three weeks after the government imposed its tightest curb on movements this month to halt the spread of delta, which now accounts for almost all new cases in Java and Bali, Panjaitan said.

Indonesia has approved Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE Covid vaccine for emergency use. The government said Thursday it has secured 50 million doses of the vaccine, which would increase its arsenal from around 140 million doses so far.