Jakarta. Indonesia has received close to 1.6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer on Thursday, the first batch of 50 million doses the country ordered from the American pharmaceutical giant to boost its vaccination effort.
The most populous country in Southeast Asia targeted vaccinating 208 million people by April next year, in a race against time and constrained global supply to protect its population against emerging Covid-19 virus variants.
"The government will continue to improve its efforts to secure vaccine supplies for all Indonesians," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
Indonesia inked a deal with Pfizer and its biotechnology company partner BioNTech last month to source 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of this year.
Also arriving on Thursday was 450,000 doses from the Netherland, which was the first batch of 3 million vaccine doses the European country has committed to share with Indonesia, Retno said.
More than 29.4 million Indonesians have received two doses of vaccine since the vaccination program begins in January. Only 55 million, or 26 percent of the target population, have got at least one dose of the vaccine.
It took five months for Indonesia to deliver one million shots of the vaccine in a day on average — an event that is still inadequate to reach the deadline — with the government blaming the scarcity of global vaccine supply for causing the problem.
Thursday's delivery would boost Indonesia vaccine stock to more than 191 million doses. So far, the country has relied on supplies from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech that have delivered 158 million doses, or 82 percent of the Southeast Asian country's total supplies.
AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, has delivered more than 16 million doses through the World Health Organization (WHO)-backed scheme Covax/Gavi, bilateral grants, or commercial agreements with the Indonesian government.
Another Chinese drug maker, Sinopharm and American company Moderna had each delivered 8 million doses to Indonesia.
Domestically, the government was also battling against the antivaccine influencers. And, it appeared that the government campaign had gained ground among the population. A recent survey by political pollster Charta Politika showed 72 percent of respondents said they want to get vaccinated.
This increased from a vaccine acceptance study by the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health, and Unicef last year. Only 65 percent of the respondents expressed their willingness to accept the vaccine, and nearly 8 percent reject it.