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Jokowi says Sinovac COVID-19 vaccination can begin for those aged 12 to 17 immediately

Jokowi says Sinovac COVID-19 vaccination can begin for those aged 12 to 17 immediately

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo speaking at the Jakarta Merdeka Palace on Feb 5, 2021. (Photo: Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau/Lukas)

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday (Jun 28) that COVID-19 vaccination for those aged 12 to 17 can start immediately. 

This came after the country’s food and drug agency (BPOM) approved the emergency use of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for people as young as 12 years old.  

In a televised statement, the president noted that BPOM has issued an emergency use authorisation and said he is grateful for that.

“So the vaccination for children of that age can start immediately,” he said.

Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, also took the opportunity to mention the country’s efforts to inoculate 1.3 million people on Saturday, beating his target of vaccinating 1 million people starting July. The vaccination rate this month has been at around 700 thousand jabs per day. 

He expressed hope that the vaccination rate will remain constant in July. He also set a target of 2 million people to be vaccinated daily in August. 

READ: Jokowi aims to vaccinate 7.5 million Jakartans by end August, but experts say herd immunity is not a given

READ: Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine gains China approval for emergency use in children, adolescents

Indonesia has been battling a surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks and recorded new record cases with more than 21,000 cases a day over the weekend. 

Thousands of people were said to have ignored a travel ban during the Idul Fitri holiday last month, travelling back to their hometowns and crowding tourist spots. 

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker holds a dose of the Sinovac vaccine at a district health facility as Indonesia begins mass vaccination for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), starting with its healthcare workers, in Jakarta, Indonesia January 14, 2021. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

As of Monday, the country has recorded 2,135,998 cases and 57,561 deaths. 

The spike is predicted to continue until at least the beginning of July as previous holidays tended to result in a hike in COVID-19 cases up to seven weeks after. 

Indonesia has received around 104.7 million vaccines with the majority of them being from Sinovac, followed by AstraZeneca and Sinopharm. 

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Source: CNA/aw

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