Government prioritizing speed, safety, precision in COVID-19 vaccine

Government prioritizing speed, safety, precision in COVID-19 vaccine

Documentation - Small bottles labeled "COVID-19 vaccine" and medical syringes, seen in the illustration taken on (10/4/2020). ANTARA / REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / pri.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force Wiku Adisasmito echoed the government’s aspirations to prioritize the triad of safety, precision, and speed in the domestic production of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We must say that in the development of this vaccine, the Indonesian government prioritizes three important aspects, with the first is about it being safe; second, being precise; and third, being fast," Adisasmito remarked during a press conference at the Jakarta President's Office on Friday.

State-owned pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma has recently collaborated with Chinese company Sinovac to produce the COVID-19 vaccine for Indonesia. The Sinovac-made COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Indonesia on Sunday (July 19).

"We need to explain what safely means, which is that the vaccine must be able to provide protection to the people of Indonesia, and there are no side effects. Secondly, it must be precise. The vaccine must truly be able to trigger specific immunity against viruses circulating in Indonesia," Adisasmito noted.

Third aspect being prioritized is speed in the wake of the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, including in Indonesia. Hence, the government must act quickly to protect the people of Indonesia.

"Thus, clinical trials too should be conducted quickly but also correctly. Additionally, they must be produced properly and in sufficient quantities to truly offer vaccines to all Indonesians in need of protection," Adisasmito emphasized.

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Sinovac and Bio Farma vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials by the Faculty of Medicine, Padjadjaran University.

"Now, it is going through a phase-three clinical trial process and is expected to be completed within a specific period of time, and production can be conducted. In addition to PT Bio Farma, there is a plan for vaccine production with PT Kalbe from the private sector, another consortium from Eijkman and the Ministry of Research and Technology," Adisasmito stated.

Speaking in connection with the manufacturing of this vaccine, Adisasmito spoke of the formation of a team of experts in the field of vaccines and drugs in the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, chaired by Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Doni Monardo.

"The expert team will ensure that the vaccine candidates made are truly appropriate and suitable in the best interests of protecting Indonesian people," he stated.

The vaccine clinical trial team is currently also looking for 1,620 volunteers aged 18-59 years to test the vaccine.

"In connection with how long this process will take, the matter is being discussed by the team from the Faculty of Medicine, Padjadjaran University, and of course, health insurance and other aspects will all be protected by the government. Later, we will provide an update when the situation becomes clearer," Adisasmito stated.

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The COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial coordinator Kusnandi Rusmil had earlier highlighted President Jokowi’s request to expedite the clinical trial to just three months, though he declined it.

"The president said that the vaccine’s trial could be conducted quickly, if possible for three months. I said it could not be completed in three months because we have to do it carefully and correctly since for conducting medical clinical trials, there are WHO-regulated procedures to be followed," Rusmil stated on Tuesday (July 21).

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