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Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday he would be the first person in the country to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as he unveiled a campaign promising free vaccinations for all in the world’s fourth most populous country.
Wikodo’s announcement comes as Indonesia battles disinformation about the virus to prevent a new wave of infections, with some 630,000 people registered on Wednesday and more than 19,000 deaths.
“The Covid-19 vaccine for all citizens will be FREE,” Widodo said in a video on his Twitter account.
The government initially said that only health workers, the elderly and other key personnel would receive the vaccine free of charge.
Widodo did not say when he would take the vaccine, or when the national immunization program would begin.
But said he was happy to be the first to be vaccinated in order to prove he was safe.
“There is no reason why people should not receive the vaccine or doubt its safety,” he added.
Indonesia has signed agreements for more than 350 million doses of vaccine with various international pharmaceutical companies, including Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca and Chinese suppliers Sinovac.
However, current vaccine deals do not provide enough doses for the two needed per person, which would cover all of Indonesia’s 270 million people.
The country received its first shipment of 1.2 million doses of Sinovac this month, with 1.8 million more to arrive in January.
© 2020 AFP