Indonesia Allows Private Vaccine Program to Quicken Rollout

Indonesia is letting the private sector run their own Covid-19 vaccination program alongside the government’s to accelerate Southeast Asia’s largest inoculation drive.

Private entities must use a different vaccine supply from the government’s stockpile, provide the shots for free and submit data of the recipients to the health ministry, according to regulations issued on Friday. Foreigners and those working for international institutions can get their jabs either from the government or the private sector.

“We believe that this private vaccination program will quicken our goal of achieving herd immunity,” said Arya Sinulingga, a special staff at the state-owned enterprises ministry that will oversee the campaign. The program will be allowed through December 2021.

State-owned PT Bio Farma, which is appointed to import the doses for the private sector’s use, is exploring the possibility of using shots developed by Sinopharm Group Co. or Moderna Inc., said Bambang Heriyanto, Bio Farma’s spokesman. The private vaccination program may not use Sinovac Biotech Ltd., AstraZeneca Plc, Pfizer Inc or Novavax Inc. doses as the government is procuring its supply from them.

More than 6,600 firms have said they are keen on the program, which is set to need about 7.5 million doses, said State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir. Indonesia aims to vaccinate 70 million people by August, roughly a third of the total target of 181.5 million for the public campaign.

Indonesia has aggressively rolled out its mass vaccination drive as it struggles to contain the largest coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia. The government is shouldering the cost of the public inoculation campaign and has made it mandatory to take the shot. As of Thursday, more than 1.46 million people have received their first dose, while over 850,000 have taken their second.

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