Jakarta. Indonesian health authorities have started to administer coronavirus vaccine produced by state-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma since the second round of mass vaccination began on Wednesday.
The vaccine is manufactured at a Bio Farma factory in Bandung, West Java, under license from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
The Drug and Food Supervisory Agency, of BPOM, has earlier approved the use of locally-made Sinovac vaccine.
"The emergency use authorization by the BPOM ensures the safety, quality and efficacy of the vaccine and it will accelerate vaccination at this second round,” National Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said on Friday.
The government has targeted to vaccinate 38.5 million citizens during this current drive, which focuses on public sector workers and elderly people.
The first round, which started on January 13, targeted mainly medical workers with at least 1.1 million people vaccinated already when a new round began earlier this week.
Wiku said a small percentage of medical workers have not received the vaccine for various reasons but he expected them to partiicipate in this current campaign.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Wednesday the current campaign is expected to conclude in May before expanding to other priority groups in the next round.
He said the government will procure 125 million doses of Sinovac vaccine -- either imported from China or reproduced by Bio Farma -- for free distribution by the state.
Private institutions aren’t allowed to procure Sinovac vaccine at the meantime to prevent competition with the government’s free vaccination program, the minister said.
“If Sinovac vaccine is sold freely, this could result in reduced supplies of the government’s free vaccination program and that shouldn’t happen,” Budi said.
Indonesia has recorded a total of 1.25 million coronavirus cases since the outbreak began, with the number of active cases standing at around 160,500 as of Thursday.
The virus has killed a total of 33,969 people in the country.
More than 60 percent of cases and deaths have occurred in the country’s most densely-populated island of Java.