Indonesia explores COVID-19 vaccine cooperation with UK, Switzerland

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir, and Health Ministry's team members departed for the United Kingdom and Switzerland to explore potential cooperation in COVID-19 vaccine procurement and supply. "The main objectives behind this official visit include securing the commitment of other sources to boost bilateral cooperation in obtaining COVID-19 vaccine supplies," Marsudi stated during a virtual press conference that ANTARA participated from Jakarta on Monday.

During the visit, the Indonesian delegates are scheduled to meet with the director general of the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) and representatives of the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

They will discuss matters related to the COVAX Initative through which the GAVI Alliance coordinates the COVID-19 vaccine procurement and supply, while the CEPI monitors the research and development of potential COVID-19 vaccine products, she noted.

Through the COVAX Initiative, if the COVID-19 vaccine supplies have been available, the procurement will be conducted from the UNICEF Supply Division.

Referring to the available cooperation scheme, the UNICEF is mandated to coordinate the procurement and supply of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 140 countries, including Indonesia, to enable every country to have equal access and outreach to the vaccine.

The Indonesian delegation's visit to the UK and Switzerland is also expected to boost mid-and-long-term cooperation between state pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma and its overseas partners, she stated.

In its endeavors to secure the COVID-19 vaccine supplies, Indonesia has, for instance, collaborated with China's Sinovac.

On Sept 28, the Indonesian government had confirmed that no volunteers of Phase III of clinical trials of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in Bandung, West Java, had reportedly suffered grave symptoms after receiving the vaccine injections.

Speaking after partaking in a virtual meeting with President Joko Widodo, Foreign Minister Marsudi noted that the clinical trials have, so far, run smoothly, and the government did not receive any report on those experiencing serious effects.

"It means that the clinical trials have run smoothly and with good results," Marsudi stated, adding that the Sinovac Biotech delegates had observed the clinical trial process, and the production site of this candidate vaccine at PT Bio Farma.

Novel coronavirus infections initially surfaced 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 tackle this COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia is leaving no stone unturned to develop a vaccine to fight the virus.

Currently, in addition to the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, Indonesian scientists are working on a vaccine named after the country's national flag, Merah Putih (Red and White).

Source: Antara News

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