TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government has begun listing the first stage recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine such as health workers after millions of doses from Sinovac arrived in Indonesia recently, said spokesperson for vaccine-related affairs at the Health Ministry, Siti Nadia Tarmizi.
"There are several preparations that we are doing, one of which is [obtaining] the target data. We will start with [releasing] educational content via SMS (short message service) on 31 December, 2020," Nadia said when contacted by Antara from Jakarta on Saturday.
Earlier, the Ministry of Health had sent bulk SMSes to recipients selected for the first phase of the vaccine program, especially health workers.
According to Nadia, who is also the director of prevention and control of vector borne and zoonotic diseases at the Ministry of Health, this method is being used to verify targeted recipients’ data.
The way it works is that health workers who receive the bulk SMS are being asked to fill out a form and furnish their citizenship identity number (NIK), which will reveal whether they have been included in the vaccination target or not, she explained.
If a health worker is not registered, the Ministry of Health will inform the district or city health office, hospital, community health centers (Puskesmas) or clinics, and then his or her data will be submitted to the health information system, she added.
All these processes are being carried out while the government waits for the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) to issue a permit for using COVID-19 vaccines, including the Sinovac vaccine, which arrived in Indonesia in December, 2020.
"We are waiting for permission, but of course, we are doing it in parallel so that we can immediately start this vaccination. We are doing it according to the schedule. Around the second week (of January 2021), we can (hopefully) start doing this vaccination," she informed.
Earlier, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin had said the government plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to all provinces in Indonesia without delay.
He said he hoped the vaccination program for health workers could be started before the community returned to work in January.