Politicians Take Boosters as Most Indonesians Unvaccinated
(Bloomberg) -- Political elites in Indonesia are admitting to getting a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines, defying calls from the health ministry as most of the country haven’t received even their first shot.
Military Chief Hadi Tjahjanto and East Kalimantan Governor Isran Noor said during a meeting with President Joko Widodo they’ve received their third jabs, at a time when booster shots are only given to healthcare workers. In the livestreamed video of them casually chatting before a public event on Tuesday, the president said he hasn’t gotten a third dose and that he’s waiting for the Pfizer Inc. vaccine.
That clip was later taken down from the official channel.
Tjahjanto denied that he’s gotten a third dose in a response to questions from Bloomberg, then later explained he’s gotten a stem cell treatment as a “booster” to his vaccine shots. Noor didn’t respond to requests for comment, while a representative for the presidential palace declined to comment.
“Many people haven’t even received a single shot, yet we see public officials queuing up for a third dose, this is really unfair,” said Burhanuddin Muhtadi, an executive director at survey institute Indikator Politik.
Only 22% of Indonesia’s 270 million population have received their first Covid-19 shots as of Wednesday and just 12% are fully inoculated, according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. The health ministry has repeatedly said booster shots are meant only for health workers as it intensifies the inoculation campaign to curb deaths, which still number in the thousands each day.
In earlier occasions, other public officials spoke openly about the extra dose, including the deputy head of the North Toraja regency, who received the Moderna Inc. vaccine as a booster, according to a report by Kompas newspaper.
“Let me reiterate that booster shots are only for health workers,” Siti Nadia Tarmizi, spokesperson for the Covid-19 task force, told Bloomberg when contacted on Wednesday. “This is the responsibility of the central government, as well as regional governments, and we have hired auditors to verify the administration of these vaccines.”
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