Salem Radio Network News Sunday, August 1, 2021

Health

Indonesia sends out vaccination vans to speed up rollout

By Adi Kurniawan

JAKARTA (Reuters) – As Indonesia struggles to tackle a devastating surge in COVID-19 infections, authorities in Jakarta have deployed teams of health workers to drive around the capital and vaccinate communities in crowded, harder-to-access districts.

On Thursday, the first day of operations, at least 16 mini-vans fanned out across the Jakarta area to administer 100 doses each of the Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech vaccine.

In one south Jakarta district, residents came out to a park to await their vaccinations.

“My advice for the government is to speed up the vaccinations, because there are many people who haven’t been vaccinated yet,” said 51-year-old resident Widodo, who like many Indonesians, goes by one name. Widodo also suggested children should be prioritised for vaccinations.

The world’s fourth-most populous country has set ambitious targets to innoculate 181.5 million people by early next year, but up to now only around 5.4% of a total population of over 270 million have been fully innoculated.

  With hospitals in Jakarta and across Java island now overflowing with patients amid record numbers of infections driven by the Delta variant first detected in India, the government has been scrambling to speed up the vaccine rollout.

“This is a lot easier for me, because it’s organised in our neighbourhood,” said Yeni Nawang, 21, another resident getting inoculated, noting how she had seen others struggling to access vaccines.

Ray Wijaya, a 25-year-old doctor working with one of the mobile vaccine vans said the teams aimed to reach those who might otherwise be overlooked.

    “Our target as planned by the health ministry is to focus on residents who lack access to healthcare and vaccination centres,” he said, adding: “We come to them.”

(Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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