A Jesuit priest, Father Ignatius Ismartono, 78, is vaccinated at Canisius College on March 9 during a Covid-19 vaccination drive held by the college and its alumni. (Photo supplied)
The alumni of a Jesuit-run school in Jakarta have begun a free Covid-19 vaccination drive to help elderly people and give added momentum to the Indonesian government’s inoculation efforts.
Canisius College and its alumni association said they aim to vaccinate at least 2,500 elderly people across the capital from March 8-13.
Indonesia kicked off its vaccination drive at the college on Jan. 13 but as of March 9 only about 3,337,000 out of a population of more than 270 million had received a shot.
Jesuit Father Alexander Koko Siswijayanto, coordinator of the alumni’s campaign, said the aim was to help speed up vaccination efforts.
He said 500 people aged over 60 will be vaccinated each day. They will receive the Sinovac vaccine made in China which will involve each person getting two shots 28 days apart.
The first shots will be given from March 8-13, and the second will be administered from April 5-9 by health workers from the alumni, Sint Carolus Hospital run by the Congregation of St. Carolus Borromeus Sisters, and a hospital run by Atma Jaya Catholic University.
Those seeking to be vaccinated must register online, Father Siswijayanto said.
Alumni chairman Irlan Suud said the drive is one small effort to end the pandemic in a country that is seeing more than 7,000 new cases every day.
"We want to be partners of the government in ending the pandemic in Indonesia. We got the vaccine free from the government and are using it,” he told UCA News.
He said the alumni’s vaccination is being carried out in full cooperation with the Health Ministry.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the government welcomed the alumni’s assistance, saying he hoped it would speed up vaccination efforts and encourage vaccine doubters to register for shots.
“The ministry would like to replicate such campaigns elsewhere,” the minister said during a visit to the college.
Nur Komariah, 68, said she received her first shot on March 9.
“I feel lucky to have been given the vaccine since there are so many people waiting for one, ” she told UCA News.
As of March 9, Indonesia had recorded 1,386,556 Covid-19 cases and 37,547 deaths.
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