Indonesia is requiring those eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine to take the shots as the country seeks ways to quicken its inoculation program to curb Southeast Asia's largest outbreak.
The government can punish those who refuse the vaccine by stopping or delaying social assistance programs and administrative services as well as impose fines, according to a revised presidential rule.
The actual form of the sanctions are left to local governments to decide, reports Bloomberg.
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Sinovac Biotech Covid-19 vaccine at Tanah Abang market in Jakarta, on Feb. 17.Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg
Making the Covid-19 vaccine compulsory is an unusual move amid widespread hesitance toward the shots that were rushed in its development.
A survey last September found that about 65% of Indonesians would want to get the shots, while the rest were concerned about the cost, health risks and whether the vaccine would be halal. The government has since made the vaccine free of charge.
Indonesia has administered more than 1.7 million shots in a program that started with President Joko Widodo himself receiving the first dose, a bid to bolster public confidence in the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. vaccine. That's a long way from the more than 180 million people that the government seeks to inoculate by the end of the year.
The country has also signed deals with other manufacturers including AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc., though those shots haven't been shipped.