Jakarta. Indonesia has received around 6.4 million vaccine doses from the multilateral scheme Covax after welcoming a fresh vaccine shipment over the weekend.
The Covax Facility —directed by vaccine alliance Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi)— aims to procure vaccines for lower and middle-income countries, including Indonesia.
On Saturday, 1,389,600 doses of Covax-procured Astrazeneca vaccine arrived at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. In total, 6,410,500 doses under the multilateral scheme have set foot in Indonesia.
Indonesia is set to receive 11,704,800 ready-to-use vaccines under Covax until May this year for the first batch. This brings the total remaining doses for the first batch to 5,294,300 doses.
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi thanked the Covax Facility for ensuring an equitable vaccine distribution. Since the pandemic dawned, Indonesia has consistently called for vaccine equity, she said.
There are also ongoing discussions worldwide on a vaccine patent waiver, which is expected to boost global vaccine production and pave the way for equitable access.
Retno, who co-chairs the Gavi Covax Advance Market Commitment Engagement Group, revealed there would be a meeting on vaccine equity efforts next week.
"On May 17, along with the Ethiopian health minister and Canadian international development minister, I will lead the Covax AMC Engagement Group meeting to discuss the current updates on vaccine equity efforts," Retno said.
Qatar Airways had flown the weekend's batch of Astrazeneca vaccines to Indonesia. The doses were sealed in 13,896 small cartons and then later stored in 10 wooden pallets with a dimension of 157 centimeters (cm) x 120 cm x 157 cm. The total cargo weighed 5,286.7 kilograms, with a volume of 29.579 cubic meters.
According to Retno, Indonesia so far has secured 75,910,500 doses. China's Sinovac Biotech had shipped 68,500,000 doses to Indonesia. The archipelagic country has also received 6,410,500 Astrazeneca doses under Covax and a million doses from Sinopharm.
Remember Health Protocols
At the conference, Retno noted how the global coronavirus cases had passed 157 million cases with over 3.2 million deaths.
According to WHO, as of May 2, the world recorded more Covid-19 infections in the past two weeks than the first six months of the pandemic, with over 5.7 million new weekly cases.
Compared to the previous week, Southeast Asia suffered from a 19 percent in case incidences — the highest rise among WHO regions. About 47 percent of the new cases in the past seven days were found in Southeast Asia, as of May 2.
This dire situation should be a reminder to keep our guards up against the virus, Retno said.
"Every one of us can help curb the virus transmission by complying with the health protocols, not just to protect ourselves, but also the people that we love," the diplomat added.