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Workers in 18 to 59 age bracket to be given priority for COVID-19 vaccine, says Indonesian health minister

Workers in 18 to 59 age bracket to be given priority for COVID-19 vaccine, says Indonesian health minister

Pharmaceutical company Bio Farma is conducting the late-stage human trial of Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Indonesia. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)

JAKARTA: Indonesia will give healthcare staff as well as workers aged between 18 and 59 priority access to COVID-19 vaccine, the country’s health minister said.

After attending a meeting with several ministers on the vaccination programme on Wednesday (Sep 30), Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said the country needs 320 million doses of vaccine.

Indonesia's population is about 260 million. 

"Vaccine priority will be given to the frontliners, namely all healthcare workers and all people who work in medical facilities. Next, (it) will be given to members of the public in the high risk category, namely workers between 18 and 59 years old," Mr Putranto said.

Indonesia's vaccination plan is carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of State Enterprises, the National Drug and Food Control Agency and the National Disaster Agency.

However, epidemiologist Pandu Riono said that the decision about who should be given priority access to the vaccine should be discussed openly with the public.

“Because it will involve public funds,” he told CNA.

READ: Indonesia to gain priority access to Chinese firm's COVID-19 vaccine formula for taking part in human trial

Indonesia is currently working with a few companies from several countries to secure vaccines for its citizens, while developing one locally.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, who also attended the meeting, said Indonesia has held talks with several countries on vaccine supply. 

“We have been communicating regularly with China, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom about providing vaccines for Indonesia.

“We have also arranged for meetings with the countries to further review the clinical trials and the production of vaccines that will be sent to Indonesia,” Mdm Marsudi said.

Minister of State Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir tours COVID-19 vaccine production at the Bio Farma office, amid the coronavirus pandemic in Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia on Aug 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Dhemas Reviyant) Minister of State Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir tours COVID-19 vaccine production at the Bio Farma office, amid the coronavirus pandemic in Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia August 4, 2020. Antara Foto/Dhemas Reviyanto via REUTERS

Indonesia is also participating in the late-stage human trial of Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine candidate, one of the few candidates in the world to have entered phase 3 clinical trials.

Indonesia’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma is partnering with the University of Padjajaran in Bandung city to conduct the trials on 1,620 volunteers.

Prof Kusnandi Rusmil, head of the clinical trials, said on Wednesday that the trials have so far been safe and the results would be known in January.

"If everything goes well as planned, Bio Farma will be able to start production in January 2021," Bio Farma’s President Director Honesti Basyir added.

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Source: CNA/ks

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