President Joko Widodo recently signed a regulation specifying the procurement and immunization schedule for the COVID-19 vaccine for Indonesia, which has been battling the deadly disease since March 2 this year.
President Widodo signed the Presidential Regulation No. 99/2020 on COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement and Vaccination for Handling COVID-19 Pandemic on October 5, 2020.
According to a draft of the regulation, a copy of which was made available to ANTARA in Jakarta on Wednesday, Indonesia will carry out vaccine procurement and immunization in 2020, 2021, and 2022
The Committee for Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic and National Economic Recovery will be able to extend the immunization window by referring to the Health Ministry's request.
According to Article 2 Point 6 of the new regulation, the government will prioritize the procurement of the vaccine from Indonesia, while Article 5 Point 1 of the regulation states that state pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma has been tasked with procuring the vaccine.
The Indonesian Health Ministry has assigned the task to PT Bio Farma, which is expected to rope in its sister companies -- PT Kimia Farma Tbk and PT Indonesia Farma Tbk — to carry it out.
Meanwhile, international agencies and bodies that can be invited to participate in bidding or research, production, or COVID-19 vaccine procurement include the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), among others.
The newly-signed presidential regulation also stipulates that the Health Ministry would determine the selling prices of the COVID-19 vaccine by taking the emergency situation and limited stocks of the vaccine into account.
Coronavirus infections initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Since then, COVID-19 has spread to over 215 countries and territories, including 34 provinces of Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll.
To protect Indonesians from the deadly virus, the Indonesian government has been striving to obtain COVID-19 vaccine candidates through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms.
Indonesia, for instance, has collaborated with the Chinese government through Sinovac Biotech's candidate vaccine, but it is also leaving no stone unturned to develop its own vaccine to fight the virus.
Indonesian scientists are currently working on the vaccine, which has been named after the country's national flag, Merah Putih (Red and White). (ANTARA))