Free Booster Shots a Small Victory for the People, Says Volunteer Group

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Laila Afifa

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  • A vaccinator administers the third dose of vaccine or a booster shot to a health facility support staffer at the Matraman Regional General Hospital, Matraman, Jakarta, Friday, August 6, 2021. TEMPO / Hilman Fathurrahman W

    A vaccinator administers the third dose of vaccine or a booster shot to a health facility support staffer at the Matraman Regional General Hospital, Matraman, Jakarta, Friday, August 6, 2021. TEMPO / Hilman Fathurrahman W

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Member of the Indonesian volunteer group Lapor Covid-19, Firdaus Firmansyah, said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s order to kickstart the national free booster vaccination is a small victory for the Indonesian people. 

    “Because the right to equal health care must be made a reality and discrimination must not exist, including in vaccination,” said Firdaus to Tempo on Tuesday, January 11. 

    He said it would be unethical to sell vaccines bought with taxpayers’ money to the public and bemoaned the booster program before completing the primary vaccination in the first and second doses. 

    Firdaus argues that vaccine equity will be hard to reach due to the sheer number of people who have not yet received their share of vaccine shots.

    “The government should have been able to complete its primary vaccinations by prioritizing elderly people, children, and other vulnerable groups,” he said. 

    The free booster rollout was initially only targetting groups classified as recipients of national healthcare (BPJS Kesehatan) contribution assistance (PBI) and would utilize the State Budget to fund the vaccinations. Meanwhile, the other would have to pay to get the third Covid shot.

    However, in today’s press conference President Jokowi announced that Indonesia’s national booster vaccination will be made free for the general public. 

    Read: President Jokowi Announces Free Booster Jabs Nationwide

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