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Indonesia Police arrests health workers for stealing prisoners’ vaccines

By Barakat Odegbola

No fewer than four health workers have been arrested by Police in Indonesia for allegedly stealing Covid-19 vaccines marked for prisoners and selling them to the public, authorities said Tuesday.

The Police said the four arrested included a doctor at a prison in Medan and a local health official, adding that they could face a life sentence if convicted underneath Indonesia’s anti-corruption law.

It was gathered the suspects took more than 1,000 doses made by China’s Sinovac from the prisoners’ quota, offering them to buyers in the capital Jakarta and in North Sumatra’s Medan city for around 250,000 rupiahs ($17) each.
“One of many suspects introduced the vaccines to Jakarta the place we additionally uncovered some places offering the service,” North Sumatra police spokesman Hadi Wahyudi informed AFP Tuesday.

Indonesia has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is rolling out a massive vaccination programme for many of its nearly 270 million people. Residents get photographs without charge.

However tens of thousands and thousands are nonetheless ready for his or her jabs, with restricted provides prioritised for frontline well being employees and different high-risk teams together with the inmates at Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons.

The country’s prison system is notorious for poor conditions and rights groups have warned about the risk of coronavirus outbreaks in jails across the archipelago.

The arrests come after a separate vaccine scandal in North Sumatra this month, when police said they found health workers at Medan’s airport were recycling cotton swabs from Covid-19 tests by washing and repackaging them.

The scheme could have affected thousands of passengers tested at the airport, they said.

Indonesia has officially reported more than 1.7 million cases of coronavirus and nearly 50,000 deaths.

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