To Be Young and Rich: Indonesia’s Vaccination Controversies by Max Lane

No parliamentary opposition means the government is not held to account for its vaccination programme.

Indonesia’s pandemic response and relief efforts continue to struggle with the tensions between economic and health priorities. Last year, this manifested itself in the uneven and changing “lockdown” policies restricting social mobility. At the very beginning of the pandemic’s spread in Indonesia, President Widodo warned provincial governments not to endanger the economy by imposing lockdowns. Indonesia still is suffering from its’ first very long wave of confirmed Covid-19 infections.

In January, 2021, this unresolved tension was revealed in a new polemic and policy flip-flop.  Government statements explained that the productive age group would receive Covid-19 vaccines first and people over the age of 65 later. To underline this prioritisation policy, President Widodo, who is 59, was vaccinated on 13 January. Vice-President Maruf Amin, who is 77, was not.

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