Indonesia aims to vaccinate 40 million people by June, president says

FILE PHOTO: Indonesian President Joko Widodo gestures during an interview with Reuters at the presidential palace in Jakarta

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia plans to inject one million people per day with the coronavirus vaccine and 40 million people by June as part of a mass vaccination drive targetting 181.5 million people, President Joko Widodo said on Thursday.

The Southeast Asian country’s COVID-19 caseload is among the worst in Asia, with more than 1.36 million infections and 36,800 deaths, although new cases have dropped significantly in the past month.

The government began injecting medical workers, civil servants and service workers in January, and 2.28 million people have received at least an injection of China’s Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, government data shows.

About 38 million doses of vaccine produced by Sinovac have arrived in the Southeast Asian country so far and 4.6 million ready-to-use doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine will arrive this month, Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said in a televised statement commemorating a year since the country first detected the novel coronavirus on its soil.

“The acceleration of the vaccination is one of the keys to controlling COVID transmission,” he said.

The president warned that Indonesia needs to remain vigilant despite a falling number of new cases, but he urged people not to worry about a variant of the coronavirus, first discovered in Britain, that was recently detected in Indonesia.

(Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Baum)

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