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Jakarta Post

Govt gears up for future COVID-19 vaccination

  • Nina Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 2, 2020   /   08:00 am
Govt gears up for future COVID-19 vaccination The government has drafted scenarios and prepared logistical needs necessary to distribute COVID-19 vaccine across the archipelago, to make sure it can be evenly disbursed once available. (Shutterstock/siam.pukkato)

The government has drafted scenarios and prepared logistical needs necessary to distribute COVID-19 vaccine across the archipelago, to make sure it can be evenly disbursed once available.

The scenarios were discussed in a coordination meeting led by Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan on Wednesday.

“The vaccine is necessary for us now. Our main priority is preparing vaccination logistics, targets and mechanisms,” the minister said.

Read also: Jokowi gives committee two weeks to draft COVID-19 vaccination plan

In order to distribute the vaccine evenly across the country, the government plans to procure cold chain equipment to store and distribute hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine from other countries.

State-Owned Enterprises Deputy Minister Budi Gunadi said two state-owned pharmaceutical firms, Bio Farma and Kimia Farma, currently only had the capacity to store 123 million out of 352 million vaccine doses.

Indonesia has forged cooperation with several countries regarding the supply of potential vaccines.

Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech partnered with Bio Farma to launch the late-stage human trials of a candidate vaccine in Bandung, West Java. The trial involved some 1,620 volunteers since August.

Kimia Farma struck a deal with Group 42 (G42) Healthcare, an artificial intelligence company in the United Arab Emirates, to develop a potential vaccine.

The Research and Technology Ministry is also leading a national consortium, comprising research bodies and universities, to develop the Merah Putih vaccine.

The Health Ministry also signed an agreement with UNICEF to procure COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX, a global vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization aiming for even distribution of the vaccine.

Read also: Indonesia secures massive supply of potential COVID-19 vaccine until end of 2021

During Wednesday’s meeting, Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) head Penny Kusumawati Lukito said the agency’s technical team would check laboratories designated to mass produce the vaccine as well as the ongoing clinical trials.

The agency would also discuss with Sinovac regarding the vaccine’s delivery. After the vaccine arrived in Indonesia, BPOM would submit a halal certification for the substance to the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

In the meantime, the Health Ministry is training medical workers for the vaccination program. Two community health centers (Puskesmas) in Badung, Denpasar, Bali as well as Bogor, West Java would become the locations for vaccination simulation.

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said medical personnel and other workers in health facilities would be vaccinated first. “The second group [to be vaccinated] would be workers aged 18 to 59, which is a high-risk group."