Indonesia targets young in vaccination drive

Leading by example, Indonesia's President received his country's first COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday following the launch of a mass immunisation programme.

Officials hope to give more than 180 million people the jab, after authorities on Monday approved China's vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech for emergency use.

They've also ordered vaccine doses from AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech.

Indonesia's president who many call Jokowi was first up and received his at the presidential palace.

"COVID-19 vaccination is very important to break the chain of transmission, providing health protection and keeping us safe. It provides a peace of mind for the people of Indonesia. And will it help to accelerate economic recovery."

Instead of vaccinating the elderly and frontline workers first, like other countries are doing, Indonesia will start with younger working people.

This is partly because officials do not have enough data on older people from the CoronaVac clinical trials.

Indonesia has said its trials showed China's vaccine had an efficacy rate of 65%, but Brazilian researchers said on Tuesday it was only 50% effective.

The government is also keen to kick start the economy after it suffered its first recession in more than two decades due to the pandemic.

But experts have warned not to see the vaccine as a silver bullet as more research needs to be done on whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus.

Indonesia has one of the worst outbreaks in Asia, recording a daily record of more than 300 deaths on Tuesday, and averaging around 9,000 new infections a day.

There have been calls for the country to strengthen its test and trace regime, alongside rolling out the vaccine.