On 6 December, 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac landed in Indonesia and is expected to be the first vaccine product to be distributed to Indonesians in January 2021 with the vaccination schedule expected in early February 2021, Bio Farma stated.
As an official party collaborating with Sinovac Biotech Ltd, PT Bio Farma is carrying out the final phase of clinical trials. “The plan is we will provide an interim report to obtain an emergency use permit from the BPOM in the first week of January and we are targeting that mass vaccinations can be rolling out in early February, “ said Director of PT Bio Farma, Honesti Basyir in a virtual press conference.
Reflecting lower expectations, the Head of BPOM Penny Lukito revealed that the permit for the emergency use of the Covid-19 Sinovac vaccine could only be issued in the third or fourth week of January 2021.
However, as China’s capital Beijing is currently under emergency status due to the rising cases of Covid-19, this could halt the logistic process for a while and cause the distribution of vaccines to Indonesia to be slower or even suspended. In some cases, the vaccine by Sinovac Biotech Ltd also has shown differences in effectiveness level: one shows 91,25% and others show only 50% in which makes people doubt that the Sinovac vaccine will make a high enough protection to create herd immunity.
What to Expect
In early 2021, Indonesia expects to get another 1.8 million Covid-19 vaccines in ready-to-use products and other 15 million as raw materials that need to be re-packed locally The Indonesian government attempts to secure another 30 million Covid-19 vaccines in the form of raw materials which are scheduled to arrive in the country in the same month to ensure that the vaccinations will be started on schedule.
Previously, President Joko Widodo announced that he promised to be the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine and it will be broadcast live on television to make sure that the vaccine is safe. President Jokowi also promises that the Covid-19 vaccine will be 100% free for prioritised people and it will also available in commercial products.
“Everyone will be vaccinated and it’s free. But this takes time because the latest data on the vaccines required are for 182 million people. We need to be patient,” said Jokowi on Monday, 28 December during an SME focused event in Jakarta
Currently, the vaccine is undergoing screening and standardisation at PT Bio Farma to make sure it’s authorised by the Indonesian Technical Advisory Group in Immunization and Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization of the World Health Organization (SAGE WHO).
Coordinating Minister of Economy Airlangga Hartato said that all Covid-19 vaccine from the diverse providers both local and international pharma companies in the country will undergo evaluation at The Indonesian Food and Drug Authority (BPOM) and certified ‘Halal’ by Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI).
The spokesperson for Covid-19 vaccination at the Ministry of Health Siti Nadia Tarmizi explained that the vaccine distribution will be done by PT Bio Farma to the Department of Health at the province, regency, and city level. Healthcare centres such as Puskesmas and hospitals will also get the product first.
According to Tarmizi, the candidates to be recipients need to register themselves using the application ‘Satu Data Vaksin Covid-19’ to get in the queue. Since the vaccination plan has utilised big data providers to better distribute the vaccination process more efficiently, all the pre-vaccination processes will run digitally until those selected will get notification from a short messaging service (SMS). The application is also aimed to gather specific data from people with pre-existing conditions who need to be prioritised, Kompas reported.
Soleh Ayubi, Director of Digital Healthcare at PT Bio Farma said that the registration system will ensure whether people are entitled or not as recipients of vaccines based on the provisions determined by the Ministry of Health. "However, all registrant data that have entered will still be accommodated until the person concerned is declared to receive the vaccine," he said in the press release.
Based on the Decree of the Minister of Health No. H.K.01.07 / Menkes / 9860/2020 about the Implementation of Covid-19 Vaccination, Indonesia is expected to get a total of 6 vaccines from different companies including the first from Sinovac.
The government also recently updated more detailed information about the prioritised level of recipients to get Covid-19 vaccine including health workers, assistants for supporting health workers who work at Health Service Facilities, the Indonesian National Army, the Indonesian National Police, legal officers, and other public service officers.
Furthermore, community / religious figures, strategic economic stakeholders, sub-district officials in the neighbourhood are also the prioritised recipients. The next priority level of vaccination are teachers/educators, ministerial/institutional apparatus, regional government apparatus, and legislative members. Other priorities are vulnerable communities from the geospatial, social, and economic aspects and communities and other economic stakeholders.
The Indonesian government urges the public to keep practicing health protocols and taking precautions even though the vaccination process will be starting soon.