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Indonesian Catholics begin mobile Covid vaccination drive

Eight teams take to the road to inoculate youths and the needy in and around Jakarta

Indonesian Catholics begin mobile Covid vaccination drive

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta blesses seven cars and an ambulance provided by Sentra Vaksinasi Serviam (SVS) for its mobile Covid-19 vaccination program in Jakarta on Aug. 3. (Photo supplied)

A Catholic center in Jakarta has launched a mobile vaccination program to help speed up the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, particularly in Indonesia’s capital.

Initiated by three Catholic schools run by Ursuline nuns, the center called Sentra Vaksinasi Serviam (SVS) kicked off the free vaccination drive targeting students aged 12-18 as well as needy people on Aug. 3 in the complex of St. Ursula junior and senior high schools in Jakarta.

They also hope to inoculate people who may have slipped through the vaccination net. The schools already serve as vaccination centers.

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, chairman of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, blessed seven cars and one ambulance during the launch, which was also attended by Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Minister I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati and Jakarta Governor Anies Rasyid Baswedan.

Darmawati expressed her appreciation for the Catholic center’s initiative and called the mobile Covid-19 vaccination program a much-needed joint effort to make people safe from the virus

Speaking to UCA News on Aug. 4, program coordinator Angela Basiroen said the center launched the program to help local authorities accelerate the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and achieve herd immunity more quickly.

The mobile Covid-19 vaccination program is the materialization of compassion towards our brothers and sisters who might not get vaccinated if we do not go to them

“We are working with the Jakarta Health Agency and community health centers. We will serve local people as long as this program is needed,” she said, adding that more than 350 people were vaccinated on the first day of the drive.

According to her, each vehicle has a team of five people — a doctor, a nurse, two administration staff and a driver — which can vaccinate up to 100 people per day.

“We hope that village heads and subdistrict chiefs can help us make a list of people who are not yet vaccinated against Covid-19. We are ready to help,” she said.

Cardinal Suharyo called the SVS’ efforts “creative.”

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“The mobile Covid-19 vaccination program is the materialization of compassion towards our brothers and sisters who might not get vaccinated if we do not go to them,” he told UCA News.

“It is also the materialization of the SVS’ deep spirituality which they want to instill among everyone involved in this effort.”

Indonesia has been hit hard by a major surge in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks with an average of 50,000 new cases and death tolls now exceeding 1,400 per day.

As of Aug. 4, the country had recorded 3,532,567 cases and 100,636 deaths. 

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