Earlier this week, the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech arrived in Indonesia. A total of 1.2 million doses of the vaccine have now been stored in a warehouse of the Indonesian state-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma.
Reports state that Indonesia will be expecting to receive 15 million doses of bulk vaccines this year and 30 million more next year.
According to a Duke University vaccine tracking project, Indonesia has signed deals for more than 350 million vaccine doses from several suppliers, but the majority will still come from Chinese suppliers (namely Sinovac and Sinopharm).
Indonesia currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia. The Indonesian government is aiming to provide free vaccination for as many as 120 million Indonesians.
A reported cost equivalent stated by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani revealed that it would be to 0.5% to 1% of the country’s GDP through 2022. Priority of the doses will first be for those working on the front lines of the pandemic which include health workers, police, military personnel, and public servants. Second in priority will be those aged 18 – 59 years old, which would require 246 million shots in all.
With the vaccine arriving, Indonesia faces a new challenge ahead. Being the world’s largest archipelago, the underlying logistical challenges of making sure the doses reach all across the 6,000 islands will now have to be faced.
(Art by Yuu Osari Uchida)