More than 80,000 police and army personnel in Indonesia have been deployed to escort the COVID-19 vaccine since its arrival at Soekarno-Hatta Airport for delivery to state vaccine manufacturing company Biofarma in West Java and distribution to various regions.
The Indonesian police’s spokesman Brig. Gen. Rusdi Hartono said the escort was part of a joint operation among personnel of the army, the police and other relevant institutions to keep health protocols and make the national vaccination program a success, according to Xinhua News.
There has also been hesitancy regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia, due to suspicions that pork products are used in the vaccines, prompting campaigns being launched by officials and muslim leaders to improve public trust, according to Al Jazeera.
Pork-derived gelatin is used as a stabiliser in some vaccines. But the consumption of pork is strictly forbidden or “haram” to Muslims, who comprise 87 percent of Indonesia’s 273 million people, raising concern this may hamper vaccination in the Southeast Asian nation worst-affected by COVID-19.
Indonesia’s vaccine program will commence on 13 January, with the government targeting distributing and administering vaccines to 181.5 million people by the end of the year. The first period of vaccination will be from January to April 2021, for inoculating 1.3 million medical workers, 17.4 million public workers, and 21.5 million elderly people. The second period will run from April 2021 to March 2022 for 63.9 million vulnerable people and 77.4 million others.
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