The procurement of COVID-19 vaccines in Indonesia will meet international standards to ensure the safety and efficacy of the national coronavirus vaccination program, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said.
"Vaccine procurement must follow safety standards set by the World Health Organization [WHO] and the Technical Advisory Group on Immunization [ITAGI]," Sri Mulyani said on Tuesday.
"Indonesia will not use a different standard, we will follow international standards [for the procurement]."
Complying with international standards in procuring the vaccines is key to reassure the public that the vaccines are safe for use, she added.
"[Potential] vaccines should pass proper clinical trials. We will not speed up the process or use our own standards, because if we don't follow international standards, [the public] will question the safety of the vaccines," Sri Mulyani said.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instructed his Cabinet members on Monday to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines to be used in the national vaccination program, asserting that all vaccines must go through a series of clinical trials.
Earlier this month, Jokowi issued Presidential Regulation No. 99/2020 on vaccine procurement and vaccination to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
State-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma, in partnership with China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., is conducting phase three clinical trials on a candidate vaccine in West Java. The trials are expected to end in January.
Indonesia has also secured millions of doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines produced by Chinese firms Cansino and Sinopharm, Emirati artificial intelligence Group 42 (G42) Health Care and British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
The government has set up a simulation plan for vaccination in three regions, namely Bogor in West Java, Bali and Ambon, Sri Mulyani went on to say.
The Health Ministry is evaluating the capacity of health facilities across the nation, including their ability to provide cold storage for the vaccines, which should be stored under zero degrees Celsius, she said.
"According to Health Ministry data, 90 percent of cold storages owned by health facilities [in the country] meet WHO standards," Sri Mulyani said as quoted by kompas.com, "It means we still need to make some improvements so all our facilities meet international standards." (nal)