Karuni Rompies, Jakarta – The Indonesian government is in discussions with Sinopharm and Moderna about purchasing their COVID-19 vaccines to be used in one of the world's first private vaccination programs.
The scheme is designed to cater for private company employees and casual workers, and their families. The companies must purchase the vaccines from the government, but provide them for free through privately-run health centres.
It is not known yet when the program will start nor the purchase price, but the initiative has been approved by government regulation. The price ceiling for vaccines will be decided by the health minister, the regulation said, according to Reuters.
It is expected it will help accelerate herd immunity. The government's target date for vaccinating 181.5 million people, or about two-thirds of its population, to achieve herd immunity is December 2021.
The government said companies must use different vaccines from the free-of-charge rollout of CoronaVac, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Pfizer products that started on February 13 targeting health workers, the elderly and public workers including journalists.
Earlier, the minister of state-owned enterprise, Erick Thohir, said 6600 companies had already registered to participate in the program.
Jahja Setiaatmadja, president director of Bank Central Asia, Indonesia's biggest bank by market value, told Reuters it would like to secure up to 70,000 doses.
Indonesia has recorded more than 1.3 million COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. More than 35,780 people have died of the disease.