Indonesia Rolls out COVID-19 Booster Shot Drive Amid Omicron Fears

The Indonesian government has rolled out its COVID-19 booster program as the densely populated nation hit an almost three-month high in cases amid the rise of the Omicron variant.

President Joko Widodo announced on Tuesday that boosters would be offered free for all those eligible after an initial discussion about charging for booster shots sparked controversy.

Government officials said the booster roll-out, for which the Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Zifivax vaccines have been approved, would run in parallel with the main COVID-19 vaccination program.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said health workers would be administering booster shots in half doses, in line with studies that confirmed the efficacy of that dosage.

Meanwhile, data from the Health Ministry showed that less than 56% of the 208 million target population had received two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine so far.

On Tuesday, the country recorded 802 new cases, the highest in almost three months, a number that would likely peak in February, according to Senior Cabinet Minister Luhut Panjaitan.

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