Jakarta. Indonesia expects to receive the first batch of Covid-19 vaccinees from British multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in the first half of next year, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said after signing a deal with the company in London on Wednesday.
"We have secured vaccine supply for Indonesia from AstraZeneca," Retno said in a virtual press conference from the Indonesian Embassy office in London.
"The first delivery is expected to be in the first semester of 2021, and the remainder will be delivered in stages," Retno said.
AstraZeneca vaccine uses a non-replication viral vector platform, differing from the vaccines Indonesia's ordered from China's Sinovac Biotech and the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), which use inactivated virus. AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the vaccine candidates recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) that has entered the third clinical trial phase.
The vaccines deal was the highlight of the minister's visit to London this week.
Retno and the State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir also met several organizations and companies to discuss wider cooperation between Indonesia and the United Kingdom.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an Oslo-based foundation that finance vaccine research, has also recognized state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma as an organization that is competent in developing the Covid-19 vaccine, opening up possibilities for collaboration.
Apart from AstraZenecac and CEPI, the ministers visited a number of private institutions related to global vaccine development, including Imperial College London (ICL) and VacEquity Global Health (VGH).
"On the multilateral track we have the same commitment to support multilateral cooperation platforms such as WHO, GAVI (vaccine alliance), and CEPI within the COVAX Facilities framework, especially regarding equal access to safe and affordable vaccines," said Retno.
Erick said the visit also result in some progress in economic cooperation between the two countries.
"The UK is Indonesia's fourth-largest European trading partner and first timber trade among European countries. Cooperation and understanding between the two countries are continuously being enhanced to revive the economies after the Covid-19 pandemic," Erick said.
Indonesia and UK agrees to develop health tourism in a cooperation with Indoneisa's state owned enterprises (SOEs).
"The SOEs can provide space in the special economic zone in Bali or Sumatra. We want to make sure Indonesia becomes a regional player in the health industry," he said.
Also, Indonesia and UK would improve cooperation in education, hospitality, renewable energy and the defense industry, Erick said.