Why Indonesia Wants to Vaccinate the Younger People Before the Seniors

It's the opposite of most governments’ policies. 
IMAGE mariana oentoe / Shutterstock

As the pandemic spreads across the world, two countries in Southeast Asia are struggling to contain it: Indonesia and the Philippines. As of this writing, the total recorded cases of COVID in Indonesia is 772,000, while in the Philippines, it is 479,000. 

But Indonesia, which received its first batch of Sinovac’s vaccine, is planning to inoculate first its much younger members of the workforce, rather than those who are 60 years and older.

In the Philippines, the people who are prioritized to get vaccines are frontline health workers and those who are 60 years old or above, who are vulnerable to the symptoms of COVID-19.  

So why does Indonesia want to vaccinate its younger workforce first? 

In an interview with Reuters, professor Dale Fisher from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore explains the rationale behind the decision. 

“Younger working adults are generally more active, more social, and travel more so this strategy should decrease community transmission faster than vaccinating older individuals,” said Fisher. 

By “younger workforce,” it means people in the age group of 18 to 59 years old. Prioritizing this age group also has economic merits because its consumption is higher than other age groups. If younger people are allowed to move freely once vaccinated, they could significantly help in revitalizing the pandemic-hit economy. 

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. It has a population of 272 million based on July 2020 estimates. The Philippines is the 12th most populous country with an estimated 110 million population.


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