A medical officer is preparing the administration for the Covid-19 mass vaccination program for health workers in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia on February 4, 2021.
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Indonesia will continue to use AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as the regulator to agree that it is safe, said the country’s health minister.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy has stopped using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine – co-developed with Oxford University – after more than a dozen countries in Europe suspended the vaccine due to concerns about the formation of blood clots that affected the recipients.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Indonesia is still awaiting confirmation of the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“If the EMA .. and the WHO (should) make a positive recommendation. Yes, I can confirm that we will continue to vaccinate AstraZenec vaccine,” said Sadikin, who spoke to CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” as part of the Asian Development Bank’s Virtual Symposium. on the Development of Southeast Asia.
The WHO said Wednesday “The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks and recommend continuing vaccination.”
The EMA is expected to release findings on its investigations on Thursday. EU regulator previously indicated that there was no direct connection with the events caused by vaccination.
Indonesia is the most affected country in Southeast Asia, recording more than 1.43 million cases of Covid-19 and over 38,900 deaths so far, according to data collected from Johns Hopkins University.
Through Covax, a global alliance that aims to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest countries, Indonesia has received 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford, Reuters reported saying he would get the next 10 million doses in the coming months.
Despite the current delay in the application of the vaccine against AstraZeneca, Sadikin remains 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 have to speed up the vaccine program to 1.3 to 1.5 million stitches a day,” he said, adding that the country is working very hard with all vaccine manufacturers to move the delivery schedule forward by December.
Indonesia also approved last month one of the first private vaccination programs to run in conjunction with a national plant, allowing companies to purchase state vaccines for their employees.
Using the private sector is one way the state can speed up vaccine production, Sadikin said, adding that it will help people from poor backgrounds have access to vaccines through their companies.
“It will be different as a free vaccine for employees and their families and (in) many companies whose employees are not rich.”