Eye on vaccine embargo, govt to order more Sinovac shots

Indonesia is seeking to order another 90 million to 100 million doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, in anticipation of an embargo in several vaccine-producing nations, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said.

“We have taken an anticipatory step by increasing the quantity of the Sinovac vaccine (ordered). So far, the delivery of the Chinese-made vaccine has never missed the schedule,” Sadikin explained during a hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) here on Thursday.

Indonesia originally planned to obtain 100 million vaccine doses in 2021 — 54 million doses from GAVI and 50 million doses from AstraZeneca. However, the delivery of the vaccines will miss the schedule due to the policy changes in several producing nations, he said.

“The schedule for the delivery of vaccines from Europe and India that we have discussed has been moved back for various political reasons in the countries,” he informed.

According to the latest information, this year, AstraZeneca will only be able to send 20 million out of the 50 million vaccine doses it had originally pledged to Indonesia, he noted. The remaining 30 million doses will be delivered in 2022, he added.

“The 54 million doses of the vaccine from GAVI are free, but uncertainty about their delivery is very high. Meanwhile, the price of AstraZeneca vaccines has remained unchanged and only their delivery has been postponed,” he informed.

He said the government is committed to accomplishing its national vaccination target in 2021.

“So, we will not ask for confirmation about the vaccine to be delivered in 2022,” he added.

Indonesia has been expecting to receive vaccines through two mechanisms. It is pursing a multilateral mechanism with GAVI to obtain 54 million doses of free vaccines. It is also seeking to import 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through a bilateral mechanism between Bio Farma and AstraZeneca.

GAVI is an international vaccine alliance that offers free vaccines to eligible nations.

“The first problem concerns COVAC/GAVI owing to the embargo imposed by India, as the largest supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine is from that country. Hence, obstacles are being experienced,” Sadikin informed.

GAVI-COVAX is a vaccine produced by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI), in collaboration with alliance partners of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The minister noted that GAVI has reallocated the vaccines. Indonesia has received merely one million doses of the vaccine as opposed to the scheduled 11 million doses during the March-April period this year, while the rest have been postponed until May, 2021, he said.

 

Source: Antara News

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