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Indonesian ride-hailing drivers to receive vaccines in March

Written by Ursula Florene Published on     2 mins read

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On-demand delivery personnel have become essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia is rolling out its vaccination program since January, with frontline workers in healthcare and public services among the first recipients. The Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) earlier this week announced that ride-hailing drivers will be included in the priority group.

A Kemenkes spokesperson for the program, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, said that ride-hailing and public transport drivers are part of the group to be inoculated in March. The details, however, are still being finalized, local media Kumparan reported on Monday.

Indonesia’s online motorcycle driver association Garda has already been informed, its chairman and spokesperson Igun Wicaksono confirmed. “We welcome and support the government’s program and leave the mechanism for registration to them and the companies,” he told KrASIA, adding that the firms haven’t talked to the drivers yet.

Wicaksono said that this will improve customer trust. During the prolonged enforcement of physical distancing measures in the country, the majority of users were relying on the online services for transportation, grocery shopping, express, and food delivery. The drivers have become essential workers.

The number of vaccines allocated to the drivers is nonetheless still unclear. Wicaksono estimates that the Indonesian on-demand apps are currently employing almost 3 million, of which around 70,000 are registered with Garda. “Not all of them work for Grab or Gojek, some are from smaller, local ride-hailing companies,” he said. “I hope the government includes them in the program, not only the big players.” Other, smaller services in the market are Blujek and the Russian platform Maxim.

Grab said that they are currently in discussion with officials from the Ministry of Health on technical issues such as partner registration. Grab announced earlier that it will subsidize the vaccination costs for its drivers and delivery partners if they are not covered by the free national programs in their respective countries. Gojek hasn’t talked about its plans, but “encouraged all parties to participate in the program.”

Read this: Jab me now: Tech’s gig workers are finally getting COVID shots, but at a slow pace

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