Indonesia to receive donation of up to 23.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

Indonesia will receive up to 23.1 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca through a global vaccine alliance as the country continues to struggle against the pandemic.

The Health Ministry yesterday confirmed that Indonesia will receive 13.7 million to 23.1 million of the vaccine, developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm, as part of a World Health Organization-backed Covax initiative to distribute vaccines to developing countries. The ministry said up to 35 percent of the doses will arrive in the first quarter of this year, while the rest will arrive in the second quarter.

“This is a success of our diplomatic efforts. Through Covax we are receiving free vaccines in the near future, which will complement the vaccines that we already have,” the Health Ministry’s vaccinations spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmidzi said in a press release.Crucially, AstraZeneca’s vaccine can be administered to people over 60. Indonesia currently only has in stock the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, which has only been declared safe for those aged 18 to 59.

AstraZeneva’s vaccine will require emergency use authorization from the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) before it can be administered to the masses.

Indonesia launched its mass vaccination program on Jan. 13, with President Joko Widodo and other top officials becoming the first to receive the CoronaVac vaccine. In the next two months, the government is vaccinating health workers and other essential workers with the vaccine before the general public gets their shots.

The government says it aims to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating some 180 million of the population by March 22. As of Jan. 31, Health Ministry data showed that 493,133 people have received their first of two required CoronaVac doses, with 22,548 among them having received their second shots.

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