By Mohd Shukri Ishak
JAKARTA, Jan 13 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Wednesday became the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia.
The “Premier Vaccination” programme which took place at the Presidential Palace in Bogo was broadcast live on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel in a bid to enhance public confidence in the vaccine.
Jokowi received the Sinovac jab at 9.40 am (Western Indonesian Time), followed by several of his Cabinet ministers, Chief of Police Idham Azis and Commander of National Armed Forces Hadi Tjahjanto.
The vaccination programme will be expanded to other provinces simultaneously starting Thursday with priority to be given to healthcare workers, local leaders and the Indonesian citizens.
On Jan 11, the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority approved the use of Sinovac vaccine from China to enable the COVID-19 vaccination in the republic to begin on Wednesday.
On Dec 16 last year, Jokowi announced that the vaccine would be given free of charge to all citizens, estimated at 182 million people excluding children, those aged 60 and above and pregnant women.
Indonesia received 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China on Dec 6 last year, 1.8 million doses on Dec 31 and another 15 million doses on Tuesday.
The government had also entered agreements with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novovax to purchase 426 million doses of the vaccine for the people.