Big turnout as Indonesia holds mass COVID-19 vaccination drive for clergy

Big turnout as Indonesia holds mass COVID-19 vaccination drive for clergy

Indonesia clergy vaccination (1)
Monks wait to receive their first dose of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine at the parking lot of Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Feb 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

JAKARTA: Thousands of Indonesia's religious figures gathered on Thursday (Feb 25) for mass COVID-19 inoculations for clergy and faith groups, with monks, priests, imams and nuns queuing to receive their first doses of vaccine.

Monks in orange, brown and maroon robes sat on chairs evenly spaced across the basement car park of Jakarta's Grand Istiqlal Mosque waiting to register for Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac.

Thursday's was the biggest turnout yet, forcing health workers to turn away some people.

Indonesia clergy vaccination (1)
Monks and nuns wear protective masks during health screenings before receiving their first doses of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine at the parking lot of Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Feb 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Mass vaccination program for clergy at the Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta
People talk to officials before receiving the first dose of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination program for clergy at the parking lot of Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Feb 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Vajra Sastra, a 22-year-old monk, said he hoped more could receive the vaccine sooner so his temple could reopen again for mass prayers.

"I don't have any doubt about being vaccinated because for me, and some of our community members, we're sure that Indonesia's government chose the right vaccine."

The world's biggest Muslim-majority nation has a state ideology that enshrines religious diversity in a secular system of government.

Authorities aim to immunise more than 1,200 members of religious groups each day over a week.

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READ: Indonesia capital warns of big fines for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Catholic nun Regitia Hati Kudus said she could resume her church duties while still following health protocols.

"I'm totally okay with the vaccine and ready to go back to serve," the 36-year-old added.

Indonesia clergy vaccination
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination program for clergy at the parking lot of Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, on Feb 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Indonesia clergy vaccination
A monk reacts while receiving the first dose of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination program for clergy at the parking lot of Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Feb 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Indonesia was one of Southeast Asia's first nations to start a campaign of mass vaccinations to tackle one of the region's most stubborn epidemics.

Its tally of infections exceeds 1.3 million, with a death toll of 35,000.

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Source: Reuters/kg

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