Jakarta. The Indonesian Health Ministry will begin distributing Covid-19 vaccine developed by UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Monday after it was put on a delay amid reports of blood clots in Europe.
The World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have stated there was no evidence of a link between the vaccine and the reported blood clots.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said the vaccine will be distributed across the country after the Drug and Food Supervisory Agency (BPOM) lifted the suspension on Friday.
“As the implementer of the national vaccination drive, we will start distributing AstraZeneca vaccine across Indonesia on Monday,” Siti said in a video conference in Jakarta.
She expressed confidence that all 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in stock will be administered before they expire in late May.
“We are currently able to administer up to 250,000 doses of vaccine per day,” she said.
Speaking separately, BPOM spokeswoman Lucia Rizka Andalusia said the agency has consulted with the WHO and health authorities in other countries about the safety of AstraZeneca vaccine, following reports of blood clots after they vaccine was administered.
She pointed to EMA’s conclusion on Thursday that “the benefits of the vaccine in combating the still widespread threat of Covid-19 continue to outweigh the risk of side effects”.
The EMA also stated that AstraZeneca vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots in those who receive it.
“The EMA also underlines that there is no quality issue related to specific batches of AstraZeneca vaccine,” she said.
Lucia said Indonesia received AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in South Korea through multilateral scheme Covax.
AstraZeneca is the second Covid-19 vaccine to be used in Indonesia, which has administered more than 7 million doses of vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech as of Friday.
More than 2 million Indonesian citizens have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and nearly 5 million have received at least a single dose of Sinovac vaccine since the campaign began on January 13.