Indonesian government advises unvaccinated people aged 60 and over not to leave their homes for the next month

Feb 5, 2022 | All posts, Country reports, Relevant news and stories

By Peter Lloyd-Sherlock and Paramita Muljono

Today it was reported that national government minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan advised older people not to leave their homes until at least next month, due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant [link]. Minister Luhat justified this on the grounds that the majority of COVID-19 deaths in Indonesia are now occurring among unvaccinated older people.

Whether age-selective voluntary lockdowns of this nature are effective or even justifiable is a matter for debate. In practice, many older Indonesians will struggle to remain at home. And for those who do, reduced access to health services and a new period of social isolation will impose a heavy toll. They may disagree with Minister Luhat’s throwaway comment that “It will be nice for them to spend some time at home”.

This stay-at-home advice would be unnecessary had Indonesia’s government prioritised people aged 60 and over in its vaccine roll-out. The most recent available data (December 2021) tell a very different story. 

COVID-19 vaccination coverage of older people in Indonesia, December 2021.

Around a third of older people remain (seven million) completely unvaccinated, and a further quarter (five million) have only received one dose.

This is not a consequence of vaccine nationalism. Indonesia has deployed more than enough doses to vaccinate all older people several times over. By December 2021, over 200 million doses had been administered to people aged under 45, compared to less than 20 million to people aged 60 and over.

The continued exposure of millions of unvaccinated older Indonesians to this deadly disease is a result of unjustifiable discrimination. It constitutes state-sponsored age-genocide.