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As the epidemic worsens, Indonesian Airlines provides vaccines to tourists

(Photo: APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images)

  • An Indonesian airline has started to vaccinate passengers against the coronavirus to reduce the impact of the virus.
  • The program started on Wednesday and about 20 passengers participated for free.
  • The airline is providing Sinovac vaccine.

Indonesian airline Garuda began offering holidaymakers and travelers free coronavirus vaccination on Wednesday as part of an effort to reduce the impact of the virus in one of Asia’s worst-hit countries.

Approximately 20 passengers were vaccinated for free at Soekarno Hatta International Airport on Wednesday’s planned opening day, which can vaccinate 200 domestic passengers every day.

“This vaccine gave me confidence, but we still have to follow the health procedures because we are not 100% immune. But at least it gives people a sense of calm,” 32-year-old Cecep Taufiqurohman said after the vaccination.

Flagship airline Garuda is offering the Sinovac vaccine to help speed up a slow-starting national immunization program. Since January, only 13 million of the country’s more than 270 million people have been vaccinated.

Indonesia has reported a record number of new infections in two of the past three days, and the authorities are considering urgent restrictions to stop the spread.

Explaining the purpose of the project, Ade Susardi, the airline’s service director, said: “We can achieve herd immunity in society and we can leave the pandemic behind.”

President Joko Widodo promised on Wednesday to increase the vaccination dose to 1 million doses and 2 million doses per day in July and August, which is higher than what he said is currently about 200,000 to 300,000 doses per day.

Passenger Rika Fitriani said that she has been working hard to get a second dose of vaccine after postponing her appointment in May, so Garuda’s proposal means that she can get both the vaccine and the vacation.

“These days I’m just afraid of the crowds because I have a child. That’s why I chose Garuda so that I can also go on vacation,” she said.

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