Jakarta. Indonesia’s Drug and Food Supervisory Agency, or BPOM, approved on Tuesday the emergency use of a vaccine against coronavirus manufactured by state-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma under license from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
The decision came just in time before the second round of mass vaccination kicks off on Wednesday targeting priority groups like public service workers and elderly citizens.
Imported Sinovac vaccine has been used since the country began mass vaccination on Jan. 13 with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo becoming the first person in the country to receive the shot not in a clinical trial.
At least 1.1 million people of mainly medical workers have received the vaccine as of Tuesday.
Sinovac delivered a pile of half-finished vaccine early this month that according to the Health Ministry can be manufactured into at least 9 million doses of vaccine by Bio Farma.
"The Bio Farma-made vaccine has been approved and handed the emergency use authorization," BPOM head Penny Lukito said in a video conference in Jakarta.
Her remarks came when the country saw an uptick in newly coronavirus cases with an additional 10,029 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 1.23 million.
Tuesday’s figure is the highest in the last nine days, when the post-holiday surge appeared to have gone.
The record for the highest number of cases in a day is 14,518 registered on Jan. 30.
The total number of active cases stands at 160,689 or 13 percent of overall confirmed cases, according to government data.
West Java is the biggest contributor to the latest daily count with 4,032 cases, its highest rise so far this month. The country’s biggest province reported just 947 cases a day earlier.
West Java has recorded a total of just below 180,000 cases since the outbreak began.
Jakarta recorded 1,861 new infections on Tuesday, its smallest daily count since Jan. 28. But the capital city remains at the top of the worst-affected provinces with a total of more than 319,000 cases.
It has been averaging 3,098 cases in the 16-day period, in comparison to an average of 2,774 cases throughout January, according to the Jakarta Globe tally.
Central Java has added more than 18,000 cases month to date, bringing its total number of cases to 143,419.
Newly cases are in a steady decline in East Java, but it still recorded over 10,000 cases in the last 16 days to take its total to 123,280.
The country’s four biggest provinces by population make up 62 percent of the total number of coronavirus cases nationwide.
Apart from Jakarta, Bali and East Kalimantan also continue with the upward trend in new infections.
East Kalimantan has been averaging 540 cases since Feb. 1 to bring its total to just below 50,000. The province averaged 456 cases in January.
Bali has added 4,669 cases in the last 16 days for a total of 30,821.
Over the last three weeks, Bali has overtaken Banten, West Sumatra and Riau to be ranked seventh among worst-hit provinces.
Coronavirus has killed 3,598 people in Indonesia this month, bringing the total death toll to 33,596.
East Java has the highest fatality toll with a total of 8,668 Covid deaths, 55 more from yesterday.
Central Java reported the highest daily death toll of 66, bringing the total number of casualties to 6,016.
Jakarta comes next with a total of 5,010 deaths, including 49 on Tuesday alone.
West Java has recorded 2,132 deaths since the outbreak started, while East Kalimantan is the last province to record a four-digit figure with 1,171 deaths.