Indonesia COVID-19 mass vaccinations to begin Jan 13, president to get first shot

Indonesia COVID-19 mass vaccinations to begin Jan 13, president to get first shot

Officers offload a box of Sinovac's vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it arrives a
FILE PHOTO: Officers offload a box of Sinovac's vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it arrives at the cold room of Indonesia's local health department in Palembang, South Sumatra province, Indonesia, Jan 4, 2021 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. (Photo: Antara Foto/Nova Wahyudi/ via REUTERS)

JAKARTA: Indonesia will begin its nationwide COVID-19 mass vaccination programme on Jan 13, the country's health minister said on Tuesday (Jan 5), as the world's fourth most populous country battles the worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia.

The programme will launch in Jakarta, with President Joko Widodo set to be given the first shot, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a statement, while vaccinations in other regions will start in the following two days.

The government has previously said 1.3 million frontline workers are due to be among the first to receive the vaccines made by China's Sinovac Biotech. Indonesia has received 3 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, named CoronaVac .

After health workers had been innoculated, regional governors should come forward to be given the vaccine "to generate confidence in the community," said Budi.

READ: COVID-19: Why Indonesia is vaccinating its working population first, not elderly

The announcement comes before the country's food and drug agency (BPOM) has given emergency use approval to allow inoculations to start.

BPOM did not respond to a request for comment, though the agency has previously said it hoped emergency use authorisation would be granted once interim data from clinical trials in Indonesia, Brazil and Turkey was studied.

Sinovac, along with Indonesia's state-owned drugmaker Bio Farma, is overseeing late-stage clinical trials in the province of West Java.

Early results from CoronaVac late-stage trials showed it was 91.25 per cent effective, while researchers in Brazil have said it was more than 50 per cent effective, though full results were yet to be released at the company's request.

READ: Indonesia's COVID-19 travel ban includes visitors under Singapore's green lane arrangement: MFA

Minister Budi has said previously that Indonesia must inoculate 181.5 million people, or roughly 67 per cent of the population, to reach herd immunity.

The vaccine will be administered for free across the archipelago, with the rollout expected to take 15 months.

Bio Farma has dispatched more than 760,000 doses of Sinovac's vaccines to 34 Indonesian provinces as of Tuesday.

Indonesia has also secured over 329 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, most notably from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech , and AstraZeneca.

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Source: Reuters/kv

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