BPOM head Penny K. Lukito speaks at a meeting in Bali on November 27, 2018. (Antara Photo/Fikri Yusuf)

BPOM Authorizes Sinopharm Boosters as Cases Jump 40-Fold in A Month

BY :MARIA FATIMA BONA & JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

FEBRUARY 03, 2022

Jakarta. The National Food and Drug Control Agency, or BPOM, recently authorized the use of a booster dose of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, as Indonesia faces a fortyfold jump in coronavirus cases in just a month.

BPOM announced Wednesday that it had issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Sinopharm boosters. 

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State-owned pharmaceutical firm Kimia Farma has registered the Sinopharm vaccine as homologous boosters for adults aged 18 years and older, who have completed their primary vaccination series at least six months ago.

“BPOM has evaluated the efficacy and safety of the Sinopharm vaccines homologous boosters for adults aged 18 years and older,” BPOM head Penny K. Lukito said in a press statement on Wednesday.

A homologous booster vaccination uses the same type of vaccine as the initial vaccine. 

According to BPOM, the Sinopharm vaccine proves to be well-tolerated. The frequency, type, severity of the booster side effects are less compared to the primary dose.

Common side-effects include local reactions (pain, swelling, redness at the site of injection). Also, systemic reactions like headache, fatigue, muscle pain, with grade 1-2 severity. 

According to Penny, the humoral immune response to the antibody neutralization and anti IgG parameters rose by 8.4 times and eightfold respectively, compared to before the booster administration. The booster also produces a stronger immune response than the primary dose vaccination.

Cases Surge
The EUA issuance coincides with surges in new coronavirus cases.

Wiku Adisasmito, the Covid-19 task force spokesman, announced on Wednesday that Covid-19 cases jumped forty times in the last week of Jan. 2022, compared to the beginning of the year.

Indonesia confirmed about 56,000 cases last week, much higher compared to the previous weeks.

The country even reported about 16,000 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, surpassing the daily tally in the first Covid-19 wave back in Dec. 2020. 

“This makes our daily positivity rate from the antigen and PCR tests at 6 or above the WHO [World Health Organization] standard. Previously we managed to keep the positivity rate at 0-2,” Wiku told a press conference on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Indonesia reported 28 Covid-related deaths, marking a 14-times rise from the confirmed deaths on Jan. 1, 2022.

Tuesday's daily death toll is much lower than the first wave, during which Covid-19 claimed more than 300 lives in just a day.

“The increasing number of deaths is a reminder that although most patients relatively can recover, this virus is still a threat to the vulnerable group, such as the elderly and patients with comorbidities,” Wiku said.

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