Jakarta (ANTARA) – House Speaker Puan Maharani has expressed the hope that COVID-19 booster vaccines will be provided to the community free of charge. “The House of Representatives provides full support to the implementation of the COVID-19 booster vaccine program,” Maharani said here on Tuesday.
The booster vaccination program for adults is targeted to begin on January 12, 2022, she noted.
Currently, the government is still waiting for the results of research conducted by the Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI), she said. In this case, the safety of the community is a crucial thing, she added.
“The government must ensure the safety of the people. Therefore, booster vaccines need to be free for citizens, especially low income people,” she explained.
Nevertheless, the government should prepare other options based on the country’s capabilities, Maharani said.
If the economy still cannot cover the booster vaccine program, the government can create a paid booster vaccine program for the upper-middle class, she said. “However, the main principle is that booster vaccines must be free because vaccines are the people’s basic need that is the state’s responsibility,” she added.
The booster vaccine program will prioritize elderly participants of state-owned Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan), both PBI participants and non-PBI (fund assistance recipients), she informed.
The House of Representatives also hopes that the government will pay attention to the data on BPJS Kesehatan’s PBI participants, considering that it is very difficult for this group to get access to health services, Maharani said.
“Make sure all people who are poor are included in the list, both the elderly and the general group. Thus, they can get health services without worrying about the cost,” she added.
Furthermore, Maharani underlined a study conducted by researchers from Copenhagen University, Statistics Denmark, and Statens Serum Institut (SSI), which found that the Omicron variant spreads faster than the Delta variant because it has a high ability to evade the immunity of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Therefore, she said she hoped that the booster vaccination program will be completed soon.