Indonesia to stop paying for Covid-19 treatments, vaccines on Sept 1

Additionally, starting next year, people not deemed at high risk of developing severe illness must also pay for their own vaccination as well as Covid-19 treatments.

Dio Suhenda

Dio Suhenda

The Jakarta Post


A health worker shows a vial of Indovac during a first-dose vaccination campaign on Oct. 13, 2022 in Bandung, West Java. PHOTO: AFP/ THE JAKARTA POST

August 25, 2023

JAKARTA – The government is to require people to pay for their own COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations starting on Sept. 1, as mandated by a recently issued regulation amid the novel coronavirus’ “transition” to an endemic in the country.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo lifted the national COVID-19 public health emergency in June, saying the disease had entered a stage of endemicity following months of low daily caseloads and fatalities. Earlier this month, he disbanded the country’s COVID-19 task force and handed responsibility for managing the disease to the Health Ministry.

Earlier this week, the ministry issued a new regulation on COVID-19 handling that includes a provision mandating self-payment for all related treatments and vaccinations.

“Starting on Sept. 1, the Health Ministry will no longer accept reimbursement claims [for COVID-19 treatments],” the ministry’s legal bureau head Indah Febrianti said during a recent press briefing.

She added that these claims would be paid either independently by the patient or through the National Health Insurance (JKN) and other health insurance schemes.

Starting next year, people who do not belong to those groups deemed at high risk of developing severe illness must also pay for their own vaccination in addition to their COVID-19 treatments.

These risk groups include the elderly (above 60 years old), people with comorbidities, health workers and pregnant women. These groups are still eligible to receive up to their second booster dose or fourth vaccine dose for free.

Read also: New COVID variant not a ‘concern’, govt says

But immunization director Prima Yosephine said the ministry had yet to set the prices for COVID-19 vaccines.

The locally produced vaccines Indovac and Inavac would be available to the public, as the government is slated to stop importing foreign vaccines by the end of the year.

Inavac is an inactivated vaccine jointly developed by PT Biotis Pharmaceuticals Indonesia and Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java, while, Indovac is a recombinant vaccine developed by PT Bio Farma in collaboration with the United States’ Baylor College of Medicine.

These changes in approach to COVID-19 management come as the government shifts the health budget’s focus from the pandemic toward improving the public health system.

In his annual State of the Nation Address last week, President Jokowi announced a plan to allocate to the health sector 5.6 percent of the 2024 state budget, or around Rp 186.4 trillion (US$12 billion). The funds would be used to develop the pharmaceutical industry, improve access to and the quality of primary healthcare services as well as the effectiveness of the JKN scheme.

Next year’s health budget is lower than the budgets in 2021 and 2022, at the peak of the pandemic. The state spent Rp 312.4 trillion on public health in 2021, of which 60 percent went toward COVID-19 mitigation measures.

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