"We fully support and back the efforts (for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine), in order to ensure that the target to have the vaccine available by the middle of 2021 can be met. We even pray for it to be available earlier," the VP said, while delivering an address at the National Cross-Faith Dialogue, held virtually from Jakarta on Tuesday.
Until the vaccine is developed and research continues on finding an antidote to the virus, the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Indonesia will remain on the rise, he said.
For that reason, the pandemic remain a serious threat considering the transmission number, which is deemed high, with 75,699 people infected, 36,455 receiving treatment, and 3,606 dying of the virus, according to data from the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling.
"This pandemic is still a serious threat, considering the high infection rate. Even though vaccines and antidotes are yet to become available, governments across the globe are continuing to take on various (precautionary) measures, including the Indonesian government," the VP stated.
President Joko Widodo has earlier stated that the Indonesian government will work with pharmaceutical companies to produce a COVID-19 vaccine by January to April 2021. It targets to produce 170 million vaccine ampoules in 2021. The country will need to produce 347 million vaccine ampoules in total.
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"Upon calculation, our vaccine needs have reached 347 million (ampoules), as one person cannot only be vaccinated once. Those who have been vaccinated can still be subject (to the disease), which means they would need to be vaccinated again," he said.
The vaccine will later be prioritized for medical workers and vulnerable groups in COVID-19 red zones.
Meanwhile, PT Bio Farma, in collaboration with Chinese biotechnology corporation Sinovac Biotech Ltd., is scheduled to carry out the third phase of tests for a COVID-19 vaccine in July this year.
Another clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine will be conducted by PT Kalbe Farma with South Korean company Genexine Inc.
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