The Jakarta Post
The national COVID-19 task force announced that it was currently finalizing the road map for a nationwide vaccination program, which it seeks to begin in November or December.
"We're listing candidate vaccines and determining vaccination priority groups," the task force's spokesperson, Wiku Adisasmito, said in a press conference on Tuesday.
He elaborated that the government needed to consider several factors to determine the priority groups such as vaccine availability, the number of residents that need to be vaccinated, high-risk areas, as well as vaccination steps and indexes.
According to Wiku, the road map would also cover vaccine platform schemes and clusters that would be first targeted for vaccination.
"We're calculating the number of estimated vaccine doses necessary [to cover the majority of residents] and arranging vaccination plans," he said.
Cold chain availability and health workers' capacity would also be considered in making the road map to maintain maximum vaccine efficacy.
A cold chain is a series of precisely coordinated events in a temperature-controlled environment to store, manage and transport vaccines in order to deliver them to all parts of the world.
Apart from the cold chain preparation, the government has also prepared 739,722 medical professionals as well as 23,145 vaccinators, especially to be assigned to community health centers (Puskesmas) and hospitals nationwide.
"We've also cooperated with various sectors to ensure the vaccine distribution line [runs smoothly]," Wiku further stated.
The government is still waiting for the results of late-stage trials of would-be COVID-19 vaccines to ascertain their safety, detect possible side effects and decide on the proper dosage.
Doctors across the country urged the government not to rush the vaccination program and instead wait for the results of ongoing trials of possible vaccines to be published.
The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) said the government must choose vaccines with proven effectiveness, safety and immunogenicity, or the ability to induce an immune response.
No vaccine has yet been approved for full use around the world. At least 12 possible vaccines are undergoing phase three clinical trials, but none have passed the tests, The New York Times reported.
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.
The country 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.
Wiku urged the public to remain alert and disciplined in following health protocols even when a COVID-19 vaccine was already available.
"The public and government [officials] need to always follow the health protocols such as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and washing hands as the primary preventive measures [against COVID-19 transmission]," he said. (nal)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.