Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin speaks in a press conference after witnessing the vaccine's arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Thursday. (B1 Photo)

Indonesia Receives 1.8m Doses of Sinovac Vaccine, to Immunize Health Workers in Two Weeks


DECEMBER 31, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia has received the second batch of Covid-19 vaccines of 1.8 million doses from China's Sinovac Biotech on Thursday, bringing its vaccine stock to 3 million doses as the country gear up preparation for its health workers' vaccination next month. 

The government has received 1.2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine on Dec 6 and in the process to bring in around 45 million doses of bulk vaccine from the Chinese company to be processed by the state-owned pharmaceutical firm Biofarma. 

While Sinovac has yet to announce the vaccine's third phase trial result nor secure emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM), the government had distributed Sinovac's vaccines throughout the country. 

"Before the Indonesian people started working in January, vaccines were already distributed to 34 provinces. This is for health workers' vaccination," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said after witnessing the vaccine's arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Thursday.


According to the Health Ministry's plan, the government would start to immunize 1.3 million health workers in the second and third week of January. Each would receive two doses of vaccine in two-week intervals. 

Still, the health workers would only receive the vaccine start after BPOM gave a green light.

More than 17.8 million frontline workers in public offices would start receiving their shots after the health workers, followed by 21.5 million older adults by April next year, depending on the availability of proper vaccines. The Sinovac vaccine is only for people aged 18-59 years old.

On Wednesday, the government has inked a deal to procure 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from the British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and the US-Canadian vaccine maker Novavax. While the AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the United Kingdom, its efficacy on people older than 55 years old still needed further study, according to the vaccine third-phase trial result published in the health journal Lancet. Novavax vaccine, on the other hand, is still in a third-phase clinical trial. 

Indonesia planned to vaccinate the rest of the population aged 18-59 years old would get their shot from April 2021 through March 2022. There are 141.3 million people in this age group, 63.9 million living in high-risk areas and they would get a priority for vaccination, the Health Ministry said.