TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia's first phase of national COVID-19 vaccination program is likely to take 15 months to administer the vaccines for some 81.5 million people, the Health Ministry's spokesperson for the vaccination program revealed.
"We need 15 months to have it accomplished. The time frame for conducting the vaccination is counted from January 2021 to March 2022," Siti Nadia Tarmizi told a virtual press conference that Antara joined, on Sunday.
During that period of time, the government has set a target of administering the vaccines for some 81.5 million people, including 1.3 million paramedics and 17.4 public sector workers in 34 provinces, she said.
The first phase of the government's vaccination program was divided into two periods, namely January-April 2021 and April 2021-March 2022, Tarmizi said.
Owing to the fact that the vaccination may take too long, she urges all elements of society at large to keep complying with the government's health protocols to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
"We still have a long way to go before being able to get out of this coronavirus pandemic. An effective fight against it is conducting vaccination program and consistently practicing 3M health protocols," she said.
The 3M stands for "Menjaga jarak" or social distancing; "Mencuci tangan" or hand-washing; and "Memakai masker" or mask-wearing.
A top Indonesian economist has earlier predicted that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses for inoculating several hundred million Indonesians, which is targeted to begin in early 2021, will require a long time to complete.
Speaking at a webinar in Jakarta last October,former finance minister Chatib Basri argued that vaccinating 25 million Indonesians against COVID-19, for instance, would take one year to complete because that would involve 68,000 individuals getting vaccinated across the country per day.
Based on this figure, 68 thousand doses of the vaccine would have to be administered to the targeted citizens every day, he noted.
"The question is: Do we have the resources for injecting 68,000 people per day? There will be no Idul Fitri and Christmas holidays along the year. It means that we need sufficient resources," Basri argued.
Even if there is a possibility that Indonesia would be able to do so, it would still need a whole year to get the doses of COVID-19 vaccine distributed, he remarked.
A longer distribution process would affect Indonesia's economic recovery because as long as the vaccine distribution continues, the rules of mandated health protocols will need to be imposed to contain the potential spread of the disease, Basri observed.
The enforcement of the health protocols would necessitate retaining several policies on COVID-19-related prevention measures, including restricting flight frequencies and the capacity of visitors at restaurants and shopping malls by up to 50 percent, he said.
With such restrictions, Indonesia's businesses would not be able to push and expand aggressively, he noted adding, the situation would also affect private investment.