Jakarta, Dec 7 (efe-epa).- Indonesia, which is fighting the worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, has received the first shipment of 1.2 million doses of China manufactured Covid-19 Sinovac vaccine.
President Joko Widodo said in a televised speech Sunday night that the country was preparing for a massive inoculation program and would receive the second batch of 1.8 million vaccine doses in January.
The president said that the availability of the vaccine would mean that the country could immediately prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He, however, said it still needed authorization from the drugs supervisory agency of Indonesia before the inoculation began.
“All procedures must be followed properly to ensure public health and safety as well as vaccine effectiveness. Clinical trial results will determine when vaccinations can be started.”
The authorities will inoculate first health workers and high-risk populations.
He said it was not possible to carry out the vaccination for all as of now and expressed hope that Indonesians would follow instructions from the authorities currently working on the inoculation program.
Widodo said that he hoped that all arrangements, including supporting equipment, human resources, and management, would be ready soon to begin the mass vaccination.
“We know that it has been prepared since a few months ago through simulations in several provinces.”
The president also cautioned against lowering the guard and said that even though the vaccine was available now, “we still have to be disciplined in carrying out health protocols, we still have to continue with masks, keeping our distance and washing hands.”
Widodo also indicated his government was also expecting to receive 15 million doses of raw Sinovac vaccine that will be processed by pharmacists in laboratories in the Southeast Asian nation.
The country has been carrying out phase 3 clinical trials of Chinese pharma Sinovac’s vaccine candidate since August.
Indonesia has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has recorded more than 576,000 infections. The disease has claimed 17,740 lives in the fourth most populous country with more than 267 million inhabitants. EFE-EPA