Introductory Remarks of President of Republic of Indonesia at the Limited Cabinet Meeting on the Plan for Vaccine Procurement and Vaccination, Monday, 26 October 2020 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us all.
Distinguished Vice President,
Distinguished Coordinating Ministers, Ministers.
Before we start the limited meeting on the plan for vaccine procurement, I would like to inform you about 16.08 percent of active cases as of 25 October 2020 that is lower than that of the global average at 23.73 percent. I think this is important for us to inform this to the public.
Second, compared to last month, the average death rate in Indonesia has also dropped from 3.83 percent to 3.41 percent. This figure is still slightly higher than that of the global average at 2.68 percent.
Third, the country’s recovery rate has reached 80.51 percent. This is great. It is higher than that of the global average at 73.60 percent. I think all of us should know these three things so that we can see our hard work actually results in those figures.
On vaccine procurement and vaccination, I would like to highlight several things that deserve attention from all of us regarding the importance of vaccines and vaccination. This is not only related to the safety of human soul or the health issues, but is also related to the economy. Therefore, I would like to point out a number of things to become our concern.
First, I call for the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine procurement and vaccination. Safety means that the vaccine provided must go through a series of proper clinical trials. Otherwise, any trouble that arises will lead to public distrust of this vaccination. I see that the safety and effectiveness aspects of the vaccine become the public main concern, including experts and researchers. Thus, all stages of the trials must be based on scientific processes and data, as well as proper health standards. Be alert. We must not rush for vaccines and overlook health standards. We also must not assume that the Government is in a hurry for the vaccine so experts and researchers ignore the existing scientific data. We should go through it all. Although we want to be quick, we must not ignore these things.
I also need to emphasize that what the Government is doing is a fast-paced step. We want a quick move; yet all these things must be well planned and well prepared. This is related to many things/aspects that we have to prepare, we have to plan carefully beforehand. Why do we need speed? Because all countries are competing to get this vaccine as soon as possible. We know that this is indeed a chase. Every country is chasing after vaccines so that their citizens can quickly recover and their economy can revive.
Second, in addition to safety and effectiveness, public access to vaccine distribution must also be ensured. We know that we have a large population. The vaccination process will run and be implemented gradually. This should be clearly explained to the public. We must consider which community groups will get priority vaccination and explain the reason why they become a priority. In addition, there are also other issues, which is that vaccination will be implemented free and independently purchased vaccination. The cost of independently purchased vaccination must be carefully calculated. Prepare the rules. And I want for the vaccine to be offered at an affordable price.
Third, this is very important. Public communication strategies regarding the vaccination program must be established. I have ordered a team led by State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister to prepare public communication strategies with the help of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. We must thoroughly explain the benefits and the implementation of the vaccine to the public so there is no misinformation and the spread of hoaxes by various media platforms. We must also involve religious organizations such as the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s largest Islamic Organizations Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah, and other mass organizations, to explain the benefits and the halal aspect of the vaccine.
Fourth, regarding the implementation of the vaccine, I call for a detailed timeline of vaccination to be completed immediately by taking into account the availability of facilities and infrastructure, supporting infrastructure, distribution channels, and the interval for administering vaccines to be used per region. I am asking for every detail. When will the vaccination be implemented in regions? Who will get free vaccinations and who will pay for them? All of these things must be planned and prepared for in detail.
Fifth, training and simulations must be performed, either by medical workers and security personnel or volunteers who will be involved in the vaccination.
That concludes my remarks.
Translated by Syarifah Aisyah
Reviewed by M. Ersan Pamungkas