Asia Minute: Indonesia Rolls Out Chinese Vaccine

Jan 14, 2021

As planning continues for wider vaccinations across the state, that process is taking place around the world. That includes Indonesia, where authorities are taking a slightly different approach with a different vaccine.


President Joko Widodo was the first person in Indonesia to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. He got it live on national television Wednesday — along with other government leaders and business leaders and religious leaders.

The presidential jab was a Chinese product — the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by Sinovac.

Indonesia’s government granted emergency use approval for the vaccine earlier this week; although it has not been as effective as other treatments. Preliminary data from Indonesian clinical trials showed slightly more than 65% efficacy, while a Brazilian trial showed a 50% effectiveness rate and an earlier Turkish trial showed an interim figure of 91%.

Religious leaders were an important part of the first group of inoculations because clerics were able to declare the shot halal — fit for consumption in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. 

The focus of the first phase of vaccines: medical workers — who have suffered a high death toll.

The BBC reports Indonesia is taking a different approach in its next phase of vaccinations — focusing on younger working people, ages 18 to 59.

The network quotes a government adviser who says the strategy targets those likely to spread the virus because they “go out of the house and all over the place and then at night come back home to their families.”