A shipment of one million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by China’s state pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm is set to arrive in Indonesia today. The vaccine will be used in the country’s private vaccination program known as Gotong Royong.
The shipment was announced by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in a statement issued yesterday.
“The government continues to try and work hard to secure supply of COVID-19 vaccines to fulfill the needs of the country. This is not an easy thing to do during a pandemic where vaccine supply is still extremely limited amid huge demands,” Retno said.
Gotong royong is an Indonesian expression that translates to mutual cooperation. The initiative was officially launched last month to speed up vaccine coverage in Indonesia, wherein private and state companies can procure vaccines from the government to be distributed at no cost to their employees.
The independent program uses different vaccines than the ones used in the government-subsidized national mass vaccination program. So far, vaccines listed in the Gotong Royong program are the one by Sinopharm and one by Chinese vaccine company CanSino Biologics.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian country last night received 1,504,800 doses of the vaccine developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, as part of the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.
Indonesia has largely depended on CoronaVac, developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, in its mass vaccination program that began in mid-January. Over 11.5 million Indonesians, or 6.32 percent of the total population, have been fully vaccinated as of June 10. The government aims to inoculate some 181 million people, or 70 percent of the Indonesian population of 270 million, to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 by early 2022.