12/07/2020, 11.58
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Jakarta, Chinese anti-Covid vaccine arrives

by Mathias Hariyadi

1.2 million doses with a further 1.8 million to be delivered in a month. President Jokowi: In December we will produce 15 million vaccines alone; 30 million in January. Awaiting go ahead form National Food and Medicines Agency before start of vaccination campaign. Contagions and deaths on the rise.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The government yesterday received the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine produced by the Chinese Sinovac Biotech. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo broke the news late in the evening, explaining that 1.2 million doses arrived on a flight from China. Authorities expect to have another 1.8 million by early January.

State-owned PT Bio Farma has been testing Sinovac's drug since last August. Jokowi added that material will arrive this month to independently produce 15 million doses; 30 million will be produced next month.

In recent weeks, the country has experienced a significant growth in infections. There are almost 576 thousand cases of infection; 17,740 dead, the highest number in Southeast Asia.

Doubts remain about when the vaccination campaign will begin. The National Food and Medicines Agency (BPOM) has yet to approve the administration. The evaluation will concern the quality and efficacy of the vaccine, as well as its being "halal" ("pure" for Islam).

Minister of Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, specified that the first to be vaccinated will be health personnel and public officials. While there is no cost to them, private citizens will have to pay to get immunized. However, the government will support the expenditure for 93 million people belonging to low-income families.

According to the BPOM, the use of the Sinovac vaccine will be authorized by the end of December. The leaders of PT Bio Pharma explained that an effective vaccination campaign will be organized before February.

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