[Updated at 01:23 p.m. on Aug 19, 2021, for a correction in the fifth paragraph]
Jakarta. The Ministry of Health has reached an agreement with Pfizer Indonesia and BioNTech to procure 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine throughout 2021 to accelerate its vaccine program in Indonesia.
"I express gratitude for the cooperation in allowing us to meet the needs of the Covid-19 vaccine in Indonesia," Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a press statement on Wednesday.
"With the additional stock of 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, we hope to accelerate the rate of vaccination in Indonesia," Budi said.
Indonesia has injected 39.6 million people, or 19 percent of its vaccination target, with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The country target to inoculate 208.3 million people or 77 percent of its population by May next year.
Since last year, the country has secured orders for more than 254 million doses of vaccine. More than 143 million have been delivered, with Chinese pharmaceutical companies, Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm account for about 93 percent of the supply. The United States also supplied Indonesia with the Moderna vaccine, while Japan and Covax/GAVI sent AstraZeneca vaccines to make up the rest.
Pfizer vaccine procurement deal went through after Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine last month. BioNTech currently holds a distribution permit in the European Union and an emergency use authorization in the United States and Canada.
The vaccine, called 162b2, is based on BioNTech's messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which showed 79-96 percent efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19.
Budi showed confidence in Pfizer's ability to fulfill the order as the company and its partner BioNTech aimed to produce 3 billion doses of their Covid-19 vaccine globally by the end of 2021.
According to a timetable shared by the ministry last month, Pfizer would send 3 million doses next month, followed by 5.5 million in September and 13.8 million doses each in October, November, and December.
Stephen Leung, Pfizer Indonesia's country manager, expressed appreciation towards the agreement that has been established between BioNTech and the government.
"This collaboration is an important step to present a Covid-19 vaccine, to protect public health, restore the economy, and accelerate the return towards normal life for Indonesians," he said.
Sean Marett, BioNTech's chief business and chief commercial officer, thanked the government of Indonesia for its support and confidence in the company's ability to develop a vaccine.
"Our goal is to provide Covid-19 vaccines, that is effective and accepted, to as many people as possible around the world, as quickly as possible," Marett said.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated Indonesia has received 254 million doses of vaccine. It should be the number of doses ordered by the country. The Globe regretted the error.