Indonesia to start COVID-19 boosters after 50% of public vaccinated

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A man receives a dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a vaccination program in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/File Photo

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JAKARTA, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to give booster shots to the general public after 50% of its population has been fully vaccinated, its health minister said on Monday, which he expects to happen at the end of next month.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and once Asia's COVID-19 epicenter, has inoculated 29% of its population of 270 million people, using a variety of vaccine brands.

Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a parliamentary hearing the government decided on boosters at the 50% mark due to vaccine inequity concerns at home or abroad.

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"Issues of injustice or ethics are so high in the world, because some countries haven't gotten a lot of first shots," he said.

Given for free, Budi said the plan prioritises the elderly and the poor who are insured by the government, while the rest of the population may have to pay for them. Many health workers have already received boosters.

Australia began giving boosters on Monday, while Britain and Germany have also agreed to give them. Thailand has given booster shots to recipients of the Sinovac (SVA.O) vaccine over concerns about resistance to the Delta variant.

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Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Martin Petty

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