Indonesia receives shipment of CoronaVac raw materials from Sinovac ahead of mass vaccination program

CoronaVac raw materials being prepped for shipment to Jakarta from Beijing. Photo: Indonesian Embassy Beijing
CoronaVac raw materials being prepped for shipment to Jakarta from Beijing. Photo: Indonesian Embassy Beijing

Indonesia today received raw materials for the production of 15 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as the country gears up to begin its mass vaccination program tomorrow.

The raw materials, shipped from Beijing by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, will be processed by Indonesian pharmaceutical firm Bio Farma to produce the vaccine, named CoronaVac. The shipment arrived just after noon today at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport.

In a press conference about the shipment yesterday, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Bio Farma will be able to produce 15 million doses of CoronaVac from the raw materials in a month. 

Indonesia has previously received two bulk shipments of CoronaVac since December, comprising 3 million ready-for-use doses.

CoronaVac only obtained emergency use authorization (EUA) yesterday, just two days before President Joko Widodo is set to receive the jab tomorrow to get the ball rolling on Indonesia’s mass vaccination program.

The EUA was issued at least partly based on clinical trial data from elsewhere, namely Brazil and Turkey. Indonesia hasn’t concluded its trial for CoronaVac, but interim data from the local study shows that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 63.5 percent.

As of today, 700,000 doses of the vaccine have been distributed to Indonesia’s 34 provinces. Leaders in politics, healthcare, and religion are expected to lead by example with Jokowi and receive the jab shortly after the president. 

From January to April, healthcare workers, numbering around 1.3 million people, will be given first priority for the vaccine. During the same period, other frontliners, including police and military personnel and other essential workers, will also receive the vaccine. The elderly may start to get the jab during this period should a vaccine proven to be safe for the advanced age group be available.

From April 2021 to March 2022, working age adults (18-59) will be vaccinated. Those with socioeconomic risks will be given precedence over others in this age group. Indonesia says it aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people by 2022 to trigger a herd immunity against the coronavirus.

Indonesia previously said that it has secured 290 million doses of CoronaVac, which will be gradually delivered until the end of 2021. The country has also ordered vaccines from five other pharmaceutical firms, including from Pfizer and Moderna.

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