West Papua covid-19 vaccination
Medical doctor Since Rumere undergoes an examination before receiving Covid-19 vaccine in March 2021 in Karubaga Regional Hospital in Tolikara Regency, Papua. Courtesy of Tolikara administration.

West Papua Covid-19 vaccination: Updates and obstacles


West Papua No.1 News Portal | Jubi


Jayapura, Jubi – Vaccination in Papua Land, or internationally known as West Papua, has faced obstacles caused mainly by the lack of human resources and health facilities, an official said on March 4, 2021.



Papua Land comprises Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua provinces.


The head of Papua Covid-19 Task Force, William Manderi, said some areas in the province had yet to hold the vaccination drive.


Across Indonesia, the central government had vaccinated more than 2.28 million people for the first shot and more than 1.1 million people for the second, final shot, with a vaccine produced by Sinovac.


Read also: Covid-19 vaccination for health workers in Papua runs at slow pace


The province, as of late January 2021, had received 42,000 doses of vaccines, which had been distributed to all 28 regencies and to the provincial capital, Jayapura municipality. Papua’s chapter of Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showed that as of 2020 the province had 3.43 million people.


The neighboring province, West Papua, had received about 8,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of late January. The province has 12 regencies and one municipality and 1.13 million people as of 2020 according to the West Papua chapter of BPS.


Both provinces are actually among those that had the highest vaccine acceptance according to a 2020 survey by World Health Organization and Unicef.



Covid-19 vaccines acceptance across Indonesia according to WHO and Unicef survey in late 2020. Courtesy of who.int.

West Papua held the lowest vaccine hesitancy or the highest acceptance across the country with 74 percent while Papua province held the third position along with Bengkulu province in Sumatra. The second position was held by East Nusa Tenggara province with 70 percent. The lowest acceptance was held by Aceh province with 46 percent.


However, the easternmost provinces also had limited health facilities and human resources, not to mention digital infrastructure.

“The regions that want to hold the vaccination drive need resources, right,” Manderi said.


Manderi said the problems in gathering vaccines recipients data, which mostly done digitally, had also been another obstacle.

Papua Health Agency showed that as of March 1, 2021, all the regencies in Papua had held a vaccination drive. Lanny Jaya Regency was the last to hold one.


Papua and West Papua provinces still focused on medical workers and public officers. Papua targeted to vaccinate 18,352 medical workers.

The head of disease prevention and control at Papua Health Agency, Aaron Rumainum, who was the first person in the province who got the vaccine shot, said other problems included the low budget and the low commitment from the regional leaders to make the Covid-19 vaccination drive a success.


Read also: 139 villages on Jayapura preparing 700 hectares farmland during Covid-19 pandemic


“We hope the regional leaders immediately reallocated their budget for Covid-19 vaccination,” said Rumainum recently.


On March 3, 2021, Lanny Jaya Regent Befa Yigibalom said 500 people had been registered to receive the shots while the regency only got 440 doses. “We have registered 500 people so there is a high possibility that the doses we received would be gone soon, so I have ordered some more,” Yigibalom said as quoted by Antara news agency.


On March 4, 2021, 85 medical workers in Tolikara Regency received the first vaccination shot from Sinovac.


The vaccination was held in two places: Kolengger Community Health Center and Karubaga General Regional Hospital. 


Tolikara Health Agency head, Alsen Genongga, said 383 medical workers from Tolikara had participated in the Covid-19 vaccination workshop in Wamena in February to learn how to administer the shots. The medical workers would become the resources to give the rest of the population the vaccine shots.


Genongga said in a release made available on March 4 that they had received 400 doses.


He said the first phase would serve medical workers, scheduled to be completed by the fourth week of March. The second phase would be for the Indonesia Military, the National Police personnel, the civil servants, traders, transportation workers like motorcycle taxis (ojek) drivers and others drivers. The third would be for the rest of the population in Tolikara.


Reporter: Arjuna Pademme, Jean Bisay

Editor: Edho Sinaga, Aryo Wisanggeni, Evi Mariani

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