JAKARTA - As Indonesia scrambles with low vaccination rates and high COVID-19 cases amid this public health conundrum, the Gotong Royong Vaccination Scheme as part of the public initiative might be the answer that can help in accelerating the herd immunity in the country, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko convinced. “We are not going to replace or dismiss the free vaccination program, so worry not,” Moeldoko said at Bina Graha Building in Jakarta on Tuesday (13/7).
In an attempt to dispel fear-mongering over the vaccine shortage issue, the government has ensured that enough doses of vaccines were secured to be administered freely nationwide. Presiden Joko Widodo’s administration also showcased an aggressive push on vaccination programs by expanding its vaccination target nationwide. The government also plans to administer more vaccine doses per day in August, higher than the current 1 million doses per day target.
“So the Gotong Royong Vaccination Scheme is an initiative from private sectors who would like to participate in helping the government to boost the national vaccination programs,” Moeldoko said, seeking wider public support.
Moeldoko underscored the important roles of the government in guaranteeing public health and safety while responding to the pandemic crisis. A good government, according to him, should keep their door open for alternatives, suggestions, and criticism from any parties, including private business sectors in this matter.
Moreover, the Gotong Royong Vaccination scheme would provide more choices to the public society as “There is no coercion for people to take this scheme,” he said. “Those who are willing and able to individually pay for the vaccine jabs will indirectly help the government to reduce the state budget (APBN),”.
The commercial vaccination program was made possible after the government revised the Gotong Royong scheme last week in a revision to a Health Ministry Regulation No.10/2021.
The paid vaccine shots would be first available in certain places including airports in several cities across Java and Bali. The scheme is targeting individuals under business entities and/or with employment contracts and foreign passport holders. However, up to date, the paid scheme is being put on hold to allow more time for dissemination of the program to the public.