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Indonesia to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots

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Indonesia to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots

Indonesia covid boosters
Photo: Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters

Indonesia will start offering COVID-19 booster shots to individuals over 18 today.

Of the 116 million people in the country who have already received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, about 21 million people will be eligible for the program. However, Indonesia has only secured about half of the booster doses needed for those who meet that criteria.

Indonesia has struggled to vaccinate its population, largely due to widespread vaccine hesitancy among the public and the government’s inability to pay upfront for vaccine doses.

Indonesia is eager to contain the virus and re-open its economy, especially as the country depends on tourist arrivals to bring in foreign currency. The tourism sector has struggled, with foreign exchange earnings dropping drastically compared to 2019 levels. The Ministry of Tourism has revised its foreign exchange earnings target for 2022, cutting it from $11 billion to $1 billion.

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If Indonesia contains the virus and vaccinates more of its population, the World Bank predicts an economic growth of 5.2% in 2022. However, the government has been criticized for putting a cost on booster shots, further contributing to vaccine hesitancy. It is unlikely the country will rebound to its 2019 economic levels until at least 2024.

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