Indonesia Races to Vaccinate 1 Million Daily as Cases Spike

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President Joko Widodo ordered the acceleration of vaccine rollouts as Indonesia faces a new surge in Covid-19 infections.

The nation’s vaccination rate must increase to 700,000 doses a day this month, going up to 1 million daily by July, Jokowi, as the president is known, said on Twitter on Wednesday.

The health ministry has also allowed capital Jakarta to start giving shots to people aged 18 years and older in a bid to speed up its inoculation program, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, spokeswoman for the government’s Covid-19 task force, said by text message.

Indonesia reported 7,725 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, its highest daily increase since Feb. 26. The government expects the spike could continue until July after the Eid al-Fitr holidays saw millions of Indonesians going out and traveling.

Indonesia inoculated over 538,000 people on Wednesday and has administered more than 40 million shots so far, with the doses given to priority groups, including health workers, civil servants, the elderly and those with disabilities. Southeast Asia’s largest economy seeks to inoculate more than 180 million people by March next year to reach herd immunity..

The government has struggled to ramp up vaccination among the elderly, with the health ministry even offering shots to the young if they help bring in those ages 60 years and older to get inoculated. It has reached less than 17% of the targeted number of elderly people since opening the program to the age group in February.

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