But now the first country has opted for a completely opposite strategy: Indonesia (273 million inhabitants) first vaccinates the 18 to 59 year olds, i.e. the employed. Caregivers also have priority here. But then there are teachers, police officers, administrators and soldiers. And then everyone who has a job.
Ma’ruf Amin, the country’s vice-president, is said to be left empty-handed at 77.
Residual doubts about the vaccine “made in China”
One reason for the radically different strategy of the Jakarta government is the vaccine: Indonesia is the first country outside of China to use the “Coronavac” vaccine from the Chinese company Sinovac a million times over.
The country’s health authorities have given the vaccine emergency approval. However, because the possible side effects on the elderly have not yet been well researched, the most robust population group should start first.
If the desired vaccination protection occurs, so the argumentation, this also indirectly contributes to the protection of the population group 60+, which in Indonesia only makes up about ten percent of the population.
Government: It’s also about the economy
But that’s only part of the truth. After the economic output slump by around 2 percent, the government argues quite openly with the priority given to those in work. Fithra Faisal Hastiadi, economist and spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, is counting on the economy, tourism and consumption to pick up and the vaccination strategy “getting millions of Indonesians back into work”.
In an interview with “Al-Jazeera”, the scientist explained that public health and the economy are, contrary to what is often presented, “not a contradiction in terms”. “Some say that if you promote public health, the economy will suffer and vice versa. But we cannot restore public health unless we restart the economy. In this sense, the government is trying to do both. “
Doubts about the success of the Sonderweg
As everywhere, doubts and criticism of the vaccination strategy (target: 181.5 million vaccinations in 15 months) are abundant. This includes the fear that those who have been vaccinated could continue to be contagious, but more careless, and thus become a danger for the elderly, who mostly (have to) stay at home. So instead of lowering the mortality rate, the vaccination campaign could even increase it.
In this case, economic recovery would be paid for with human lives. So far, 850,000 corona infections and 25,000 deaths have been registered in Indonesia.
The y await important findings for pandemic research. Success and failure of the respective vaccination strategies can only be assessed in retrospect.
This also applies to the controversial vaccine from China, which is to be used in many emerging countries. Most recently, Turkey also granted the Sinovac vaccine emergency approval.
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