Asia Minute: Indonesia’s Different Vaccine Route

Dec 15, 2020

The first does of vaccines for COVID-19 have been sent to locations across the country this week—including here in Hawaii. Vaccinations are also being distributed in Indonesia—but with some significant differences.

Indonesia has more than a million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but this has nothing to do with Pfizer. The treatments come from China’s Sinovac Life Sciences Corporation, and arrived in Indonesia last week.

Nearly two-million more doses are scheduled to be delivered by Sinovac next month, and the company will also send raw material for another 45-million doses that will be processed by Indonesia’s state pharmaceutical company, PT Bio Farma.

Indonesia’s Health Minister says the country also has agreements with a series of other multinational firms to acquire more COVID-19 vaccines — including the version from Pfizer that requires ultra-cold storage. Other vaccines are expected from AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Novavax — as well as the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation, or Sinopharm.

Indonesia’s Health Minister says a mass vaccination program will roll out as soon as the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency approved emergency use authorization for the vaccines.

With more than 600,000 cases of COVID-19, the country can use the help.

Indonesia has the highest numbers of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, and according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center it makes the list of the top twenty countries in the world with the most infections.