The Jakarta Post
A successful COVID-19 vaccination drive could help the government reach its target of reducing the budget deficit to under 3 percent in three years, a state official has said.
"The government target could be reached by controlling and reducing coronavirus cases," Regional Representatives Council (DPD) speaker La Nyalla Mattalitti said in a written statement on Wednesday.
"If the government is successful in controlling COVID-19 cases through vaccination, it would have a huge effect on national economic recovery."
La Nyala said curbing the spread of COVID-19 must be a priority for the government to reach the target.
Otherwise, he added, if it cannot control the pandemic, it would be difficult to reduce case numbers and reduce the budget deficit.
The DPD speaker said he expected the mass vaccination drive, scheduled for later this month, to go smoothly.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is scheduled to take the first shot of the CoronaVac vaccine, made by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, on Jan. 13.
The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) is still waiting for the final trial results before it can issue emergency use authorization (EUA).
La Nyala added that COVID-19 vaccination could sow international trust in Indonesia and would get the national economy on the move again.
He called on all parties to take part in the vaccination drive in an orderly fashion to help curb the spread of the virus.
The end goal was to restore economic activity, which would help reduce the budget deficit, Nyala said.
The government has since Sunday distributed more than 700,000 vials of vaccines to all 34 provinces as of Tuesday, antaranews.com reported.
The government sent the vaccines to 14 provinces on Sunday with East Java receiving the largest amount at 77,760 vials, followed by Central Java with 62,560 vials and Lampung with 40,520 vials.
The second shipment on Monday was directed to 18 provinces, with Jakarta receiving the largest share at 39,200 vials, followed by South Sulawesi with 30,000 vials and West Nusa Tenggara with 28,760 vials.
On Tuesday, 38,400 vials were sent to West Java and 21,138 vials were shipped to West Sulawesi.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the total number of vials to be distributed was 1.2 million.
"We have shipped them in batches since Sunday evening and it will be completed on Thursday at the latest," he said in a public announcement broadcast live on YouTube after a Cabinet meeting.
He also said the government was still waiting for approval from the BPOM before starting the vaccination in the second week of January.
Budi said the initial plan was to vaccinate 181 million people over the course of 15 months .
"The President asked in the meeting whether we could do it in 12 months. We are working hard to achieve it and we need the support of all of you to do this."
A professor from Lambung Mangkurat University in Banjarmasin, Syamsul Arifin, said regional administrations could establish a monitoring team to ensure the quality of the vaccination program.
"The team could evaluate, monitor and ensure that the vaccination program is conducted according to the Health Ministry regulations," he told antaranews.com on Wednesday.
He added that maximum effort was needed to ensure the vaccine's security, efficacy and quality from distribution and storage to vaccination.
"Maintaining the high quality of the vaccine will provide optimum immunity for vaccination recipients," Syamsul said. (nvn)