Andi Firdaus/Suharto, Jakarta – The World Health Organization (WHO) commended Indonesian President Joko Widodo's commitment to expediting and optimizing the national vaccination program as part of the endeavors to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Indonesia is one of the countries with successful vaccination programs," WHO Immunization Officer for Indonesia Olivi Silalahi stated during an online dialog of the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery (KPOPEN) and the Merdeka Barat Forum (FMB9) in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Silalahi remarked that Indonesia was ranked second among the world's most populous nations to have vaccinated citizens against COVID-19.
"As a country that has not been able to produce vaccine on its own, Indonesia is (among the countries) to have made progress in implementing COVID-19 vaccination. The challenge is to reach vulnerable groups," she affirmed.
Meanwhile, University of Indonesia (UI) clinical microbiologist Prof. Pratiwi Pudjilestari Sudarmono remarked that the challenge to implement the vaccination program on the field is related to the dissemination of information.
Such community groups have often received information about the vaccine's side-effects that have created a sense of anxiety among them.
"For this reason, we can inform them how the vaccine works and how the vaccine is effective to stem infection and prevent transmission to reduce the number of patients," she remarked.
Sudarmono affirmed that the success of the national vaccination program also depended on the availability and distribution of vaccine to reach more number of people, especially to achieve the target of administering the COVID-19 vaccine to one million people per day.
Over 11 million people in Indonesia have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday afternoon, according to the Task Force for COVID-19 Handling.
As many as 70,312 people received their second jab on Monday, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated Indonesians to 11,197,069.
Meanwhile, the number of Indonesians having received their first dose of the vaccine increased by 132,315 to reach 17,775,918.
The government is targeting to vaccinate 40,349,049 people against COVID-19 in the first and second phases of the national vaccination program, which is prioritizing healthcare workers, public service officers, and senior citizens.
The inoculation of public service workers, including teachers and senior citizens, is still underway in several parts of the country.
Overall, the government is seeking to vaccinate 181.5 million citizens, or 70 percent of the population, to create herd immunity against the virus.