Indonesia to expedite shipments of 140 million CoronaVac doses to July

CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac. Photo: Ministry of State Secretariat
CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac. Photo: Ministry of State Secretariat

Indonesia is intensifying its COVID-19 mass vaccination efforts with plans to accelerate shipment of the CoronaVac vaccine into the country.

This morning, the country received raw ingredients to produce 11 million doses of the inactivated virus vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, bringing the total doses shipped in ready-for-use form to 3 million and bulk form to 26 million in four shipments. 

State pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma, which is processing the raw CoronaVac ingredients in-house, was scheduled to receive 140 million bulk doses in several shipments by November 2021. The plan now is to speed up the shipments by four months.

“We are expediting [the shipments] to July,” Bio Farma vaccinations spokesman Bambang Heriyanto said today.

Bambang said Bio Farma needs approximately a month to process the bulk doses. The company is currently processing 13 million doses of the vaccine, which began on Jan. 14 and is expected for completion on Feb. 11. The 11 million bulk doses that arrived today will be processed starting Feb. 13 with an expected completion date of March 20.

CoronaVac is the first, and so far only, vaccine available in Indonesia. The 3 million ready-for-use vaccines have been distributed nationwide for the inoculation of health and other essential workers, who are the first priority recipients in Indonesia’s mass vaccination program. According to Health Ministry data, since the program launched on Jan. 13, 539,532 people have received their first of two required CoronaVac shots, with 35,406 among them having received their second shots.

In the coming months, Indonesia is also expected to receive up to 23.1 million doses of a vaccine from British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, which, unlike CoronaVac, has been declared safe for use on the elderly.

The country aims to inoculate some 180 million people, roughly 70 percent of its total population, in order to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus by early 2022.

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