Indonesia sets sail on maritime vaccination drive

Jakarta: Indonesia is taking its vaccination drive to the sea as the world’s biggest archipelago nation ramps up a bid to innoculate its huge population.

The navy has deployed 60 boats and warships to scour thousands of kilometres of coastline in the hunt for unvaccinated fishermen, from westernmost Sumatra to holiday island Bali and remote Papua.

Among their targets, a navy warship deployed a flotilla of rubber dingeys with crew and vaccines aboard to jab willing fishermen in rickety boats off Sumatra at the weekend.

About 1,000 seafarers have been jabbed since the nationwide programme kicked off last week, although authorities admit they don’t even know how many might be out there.

“Bad weather is usually the biggest barrier, but the real challenge now is actually finding (them) because we don’t exactly know where they are,” said navy spokesman Laode Muhamad Holib, adding that the search area extended 24 nautical miles off the coast. – AFP