A health worker shows a package of Sinovac Biotech's vaccine in a clinical trial simulation at Padjajaran University in Bandung, West Java, last August. (Antara Photo/M Agung Rajasa)

Indonesia Agrees to Buy 100m Vaccines from AstraZaneca

BY :TRIYAN PANGASTUTI

OCTOBER 12, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia has agreed on a deal to procure 100 million dosages of Covid-19 vaccines from British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, as part of the country's effort to immunize up to 160 million people by the end of 2022. 

"The government will pay a 50 percent down payment by the end of this month. The cost for that is about $250 million," Airlangga The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said on Sunday.

Indonesia has been aggressive in procuring vaccines worldwide to stop the Covid-19 pandemic from spreading in the country. 

The most populous country in Southeast Asia has already secured a deal with Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech for 30 million dosages of vaccines by the end of this year. 

The state-owned pharmaceutical company BioFarma is currently carrying out the vaccine's double-blind clinical trial for Sinovac on hundreds of volunteers in Bandung, West Java. 

Should the trial prove the vaccine's efficacy, Sinovac would supply raw material for 20 million dosages of vaccines to the Indonesian companies to make the vaccine. Sinovac would send in the other 10 million in ready-to-use dosages, Airlangga said. 

Airlangga said that the government had been working on getting 10-30 million dosages of vaccine from another Chinese company, the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). He did not disclose how much the government would pay for the Sinopharm vaccines. 

Airlangga said that the government would prioritize medical workers, law enforcement officers, and members of Indonesia's worker's insurance scheme BPJS Ketenagakerjaan to receive the vaccine early next year. 

By the end of 2022, the government target that all adults between 19 to 59 years old would be vaccinated.

Indonesia has confirmed more than 333,000 Covid-19 cases since March, the second-highest number in the Southeast Asia region. But, many are concerned that the country may underreport its cases due to a lack of testing. Indonesia has only been able to test 2.3 million suspects, or less than one percent of its population so far. 

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