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Regional govts must fully use COVID-19 vaccine stocks: Minister

Tempo - November 10, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – The central government has urged all regional governments to fully utilize their COVID-19 vaccine stocks by hastening vaccinations in their respective regions.

Each vaccine dose available must be administered immediately so that the coverage of COVID-19 vaccination and public protection can be achieved sooner, Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate emphasized in a written statement issued on Tuesday.

"There is no delay in expediting vaccination. Everyone, including local governments, is urged to immediately take advantage of every dose of vaccine available in their respective regions, immediately exhausting (the supply) for increasing the immunity of the public," the minister added.

His appeal followed reports of about four thousand AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines expiring in Kudus district, Central Java. He said he expected other regions to not let similar incidents happen.

The minister urged other regions to hasten the distribution of vaccines to people in remote areas so that none of the vaccines go to waste. "Don't let it happen again, this is a lesson for all of us," he remarked.

Amid speculations of a third COVID-19 wave, all countries in the world seem to be racing against time for securing as many vaccines as possible to inoculate their people and create herd immunity, the minister noted.

This has made the government's processes and efforts to get access to vaccines difficult, Plate said. Therefore, everyone must think about ways to utilize the available vaccines in an effective, efficient, and targeted manner, he added.

Data from the Health Ministry shows that the first COVID-19 dose coverage in Indonesia has reached 60.24 percent, or more than 125.4 million people as of Tuesday morning, while 79.3 million people have received the full dose of vaccination.

Meanwhile, 9 million elderly people have received the first vaccine dose, while at least 5.6 million from the age group have received both doses, the ministry reported.

As for teenagers aged 12 to 17 years, the first dose of vaccination has been given to 13.1 million, while the second dose has been administered to at least 8.1 million recipients, it added.

"We had a target of achieving 70 percent vaccinations by the end of the year. It takes the cooperation of all stakeholders to spread the coverage evenly, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, which (vaccination rate) must continue to be expedited," Plate remarked.Aside from increasing COVID-19 vaccinations in regions to prevent a third wave, the minister also urged citizens to travel carefully, especially prior to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The public is asked to reduce mobilization, he said. However, should the situation demand travel, they must follow the health protocols in a disciplined manner, he added.

"If you have to travel, follow strict health protocols. Wear masks properly. A little carelessness can trigger a potential spike in cases when mobility is high, so let us be careful," he cautioned.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1526828/regional-govts-must-fully-use-covid-19-vaccine-stocks-ministe