The doctor is preparing the administrations for the mass vaccination program against Covid-19 for health workers on February 4, 2021 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
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Indonesia will resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as regulators give clearance, the country’s health minister said.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy stopped using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, jointly developed with Oxford University, after more than a dozen countries in Europe suspended the vaccine due to blood clot concerns affecting recipients.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Indonesia is still awaiting confirmation of the safety of AstraZeneca’s vaccine by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“If EMA .. and WHO give a positive recommendation (yes). Yes, I can confirm that we will continue to vaccinate the AstraZeneca vaccine,” said Sadikin, who is part of the Asian development with CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” spoke at the Bank’s Virtual Southeast Asia Development Symposium.
The WHO said on Wednesday, “The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks and recommend continuing vaccinations.”
The EMA is expected to publish the results of its research on Thursday. The EU regulator had previously indicated that there was no direct link between the events caused by the vaccination.
Indonesia’s vaccination schedule
Indonesia is the hardest hit Southeast Asian nation. According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 1.43 million Covid-19 cases and over 38,900 deaths have been reported to date.
Indonesia received 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine through Covax, the global alliance aimed at delivering coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest countries. According to Reuters, another 10 million doses will be administered in the coming months.
Despite the current delay in AstraZeneca’s vaccine administration, Sadikin remained optimistic that Indonesia can achieve its goal of vaccinating 181.5 million people in the country by the end of the year.
“That means we need to speed up the vaccination program to 1.3-1.5 million shocks a day,” he said, adding that the country is working very hard with all vaccine manufacturers to push the delivery schedule through December.
Indonesia also approved one of the world’s first private vaccination programs last month, which can be run alongside its national initiative to allow companies to purchase government-sourced vaccines for their employees.
It is expected to receive 20.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, developed by Moderna and China’s Sinopharm to be used under the program, beginning in the second quarter.
Leveraging the private sector is one of the ways the country can speed up vaccine production, Sadikin said, adding that it will help people from poor backgrounds get access to the vaccines through their businesses.
“As a free vaccine for employees and their families, it will be different, and (in) many companies their employees are not rich.”