Indonesia likely to get millions of COVID-19 doses


JAKARTA, FEB 1 – The Indonesian government is likely to receive tens of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the World Health Organization and the vaccine alliance, Gavi.

This scheme allows participating countries to get vaccines up to 20% of their total population once they are available, said the Health Ministry in Jakarta on Monday.

Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the ministry’s spokesperson for vaccination, said in a statement that based on the latest letter from Gavi, there are indications of an allocation between 13.7 million and 23.1 million doses of vaccine to the country.

Tarmizi said the allocation will be sent in two batches, 25-35% in the first quarter and 65-75% in the second quarter of this year.

“The distribution will be carried out after the AstraZeneca vaccine receives an emergency use listing from WHO,” she said, adding that it is also awaiting validation by the Independent Allocation of Vaccines Task Force and availability of supplies from manufacturers.

Tarmizi said the vaccine developed by the UK-based company and researchers at Oxford University will also need emergency use authorization from the Indonesian Food and Drug Administration prior to its use.

“The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the vaccines that can be used for people aged 60 and above which have the highest fatality rate,” she said.

The country aimed to vaccinate 181.5 million people to achieve herd immunity.

It has secured 663 million doses of vaccine from Chinese firm Sinovac, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and American Novavax, and is also working on a deal for the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

Indonesia, which has recorded over 1 million coronavirus cases and nearly 30,000 fatalities to date, started the vaccine rollout on Jan. 13, with the president as the first recipient.