President Joko Widodo-led Indonesia government has made COVID-19 vaccination compulsory in order to quicken its inoculation program to curb the pandemic. With this, those refusing to take the shot may have to end up paying hefty fines, reported Bloomberg.
Though the revised presidential rule has made strict provisions for those who refuse the vaccine by stopping or delaying social assistance programs, the administration has left the final decision of the final sanction to local governments to decide.
Citing people's fear of cost, availability, health risk and purity (halal), the Indonesian government had made the vaccine free of charge. As per September survey data, around 35 percent people in the country are concerned on the vaccine's effectiveness, while 65 percent of Indonesians would want to get the shots.
Until February 18, only 1.15 million people have received their first shot of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the administration wants to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to meet a goal to inoculate more than 180 million people by the end of 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Following this, the Widodo government is considering to allow private businesses to fund and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The government had said that private campaign will use different types of vaccine and it will remain free for Indonesians.
The government in its statement had clearly mentioned that it will hold the control of the database and will be the sole regulator of the inoculation process. However, the private vaccinations will not be held at public health facilities. It will only take place after the first round to vaccinate health workers and public servants is completed, Hindustan Times reported quoting the government statement.The Southeast Asian country has until now administered over 1.7 million shots in a program after President Joko Widodo himself receiving the first dose. The country has signed deals with China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd and other manufacturers including AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc. However, only China's Sinovac has been administered as of yet.