DPR Warns Govt to Avert from 'COVID-19 Vaccine Business' with Its Own People



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Defense Commission House of Representatives (DPR) member, Sukamta, in a written statement on Monday reminded the government not to conduct what he calls “COVID-19 vaccine business” with its own people.

    He argues that the government’s vaccine distribution - which splits it into two schemes with one using state budget and the health social security (BPJS) funds - will only cause new problems. 

    “The government’s reason to reduce the budget deficit really doesn’t make sense, but they are also forbidden to create a business out of the vaccine and let the commodity go wild in the market,” said Sukamta on September 1. 

    The legislator from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) cited the cost of rapid test and PCR tests that are not regulated, which has made service providers freely determine the cost of undergoing such tests. 

    Sukamta believes the government will only need to issue an Rp55 trillion budget if the plans get realized if the initial plan is to allocate funds specifically for impoverished people in Indonesia which he calculates based on the amount of BPJS class 3 participants (the lowest tier in the health social security). 

    “Add that to the 44.5 million people who are not registered by the BPJS,” Sukamta wrote. 

    The DPR legislator fears the government will be able to generate large revenues in selling the future COVID-19 vaccine. He calculates that the bulk purchase deal with China’s biotech firm Sinovac is USD 8 and other additional costs per dosage will end up to be USD 10, which will need a budget of Rp53 trillion for each citizen’s two vaccinations. 

    Meanwhile, if BPJS class 1 and class 2 holders - that amount to 91.4 million participants - will have to purchase it themselves will see prices per vaccine be USD 25. This will make the sales of the vaccine rack up to Rp68.5 trillion.

    Read also: COVID-19: Indonesia Records 32.9% Increase in Weekly Cases