Indonesia starts coronavirus vaccination drive, Jokowi gets first shot

Indonesia starts coronavirus vaccination drive, Jokowi gets first shot

Indonesian President Joko Widodo receives a shot of the coronavirus disease vaccine at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Agus Suparto/Indonesian Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters photo)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo receives a shot of the coronavirus disease vaccine at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Agus Suparto/Indonesian Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia began its coronavirus vaccination drive on Wednesday, with President Joko Widodo receiving his first shot of a Chinese-produced vaccine.

The president's inoculation on the balcony of the presidential palace in Jakarta was broadcast live to reassure the public that vaccines provided by the government to Indonesians are safe.

The launch of the vaccination drive followed the government's emergency use approval on Monday of the CoronaVac vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech.

Over 1.45 million medical workers between 18 and 59 years old will receive the two required shots in January and February, according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

People aged 60 and older will have to wait a little longer to get vaccinated as they are supposed to receive vaccines from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and British drugmaker AstraZeneca, the minister said.

Under its immunisation drive, Indonesia aims to vaccinate about 182 million of its 270 million people.

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