The Jakarta Post
Indonesia signed an agreement on Tuesday to contribute US$1 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the largest global vaccine development initiative and a key player in the race to develop COVID-19 vaccines.
The deal was signed simultaneously by Foreign Ministry secretary general Cecep Herawan in Jakarta and CEPI chief executive officer (CEO) Richard Hatchett in London, marking Indonesia’s formal membership in the coalition.
Speaking after the ceremony, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the latest news on the progress of vaccine development was encouraging but that a lot remained to be done and that Indonesia had contributed to promote “vaccine multilateralism”.
She said collaboration with CEPI was important because it would enable Indonesia to make concrete contributions to vaccination for all.
“We have made our position clear since the beginning of this pandemic. All countries deserve fair, affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Without it, developing and least developed countries are at risk of being left behind,” she said.
CEPI was founded in 2015 and has received backing from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and a number of countries, including Norway, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union.
In its partnership with Indonesia, CEPI has selected state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma to participate in the manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine after positive due diligence results.
“This shows that Indonesia’s pharmaceutical industries have immense potential. Under the CEPI mechanism our pharmaceutical industries could become important players in the global vaccine network,” Retno said.
In his remarks, Hatchett said that with Indonesia's long expertise in vaccine development and manufacturing, especially through Bio Farma – one of world’s largest vaccine manufacturers and suppliers – the collaboration between CEPI and Indonesia would pave the way to strengthening national, regional and global health security.
“To date, CEPI has invested in the world's largest portfolio of vaccine candidates, nine so far, with a wide range of vaccine approaches, from traditional to innovative, so that we have multiple shots on go,” he said.
He said in less than a year since the publication of the virus’ genetic sequence, eight of CEPI’s partners had entered clinical trials, out of 48 globally, and two had already reported positive outcomes in phase three clinical trials.
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However, he said it was not vaccines that saved lives but vaccination.
“A vaccine must be administered for it to have any value at all,” he said. “In recent weeks we have seen very positive findings for a number of vaccines, but the challenge ahead of us in manufacturing and delivering those vaccines at scale will require a global effort unseen in the annals of public health.”
He said he looked forward to working with Indonesia to ensure that all segments of the Indonesian population had access to COVID-19 vaccines.