JAKARTA and JAMBI, Indonesia — As Indonesia reels from a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a requirement that vaccine recipients have a national identity number is hampering access to the shots for the nation’s Indigenous population, according to the leading advocacy group for Indigenous peoples. Only 20,000 of the group’s 20 million members have received their first shot, Rukka Sombolinggi, secretary-general of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago, known as AMAN, said in a statement on July 30. According to the government’s COVID-19 Task Force, 40 million Indonesians have received at least one dose of the vaccine; 20 million of them have gotten two doses. Last month, Indonesia posted record highs in deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19, overwhelming the country’s medical system. President Joko Widodo’s administration has declared a target of vaccinating 208 million of the country’s 270 million people. But a lack of ID cards among vulnerable populations is hampering that drive, advocates say. A recent health ministry decree on vaccine implementation stipulates that having a national identity number, known as an NIK and similar to the social security number in the U.S., is a prerequisite for receiving a vaccine. The number, which appears on the government-issued ID card, is required to access social services and health insurance and participate in elections, among other things, though members of vulnerable communities often lack these ID cards. Orang Rimba tribe member Mijak Tampung told Mongabay Indonesia that more than half of the members of his community in the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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