The term will be mass free vaccines, which are expected to be available early next year
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Chairperson of the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee, Erick Thohir, has said the Indonesian government plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines to people free of charge by 2021.

"The term will be mass free vaccines, which are expected to be available early next year,” he said at a joint working meeting with Commission IX of the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Thursday.

He explained that the plan is to make free vaccines available to the public by utilizing the state budget and using the national healthcare system (BPJS) data as the basis for vaccine administration.

However, to reduce the burden on the state budget, which is experiencing a widening deficit, he asked those can afford it to pay for the vaccines independently.

"Considering the economic data, the income of the country is quite vulnerable. So, we also propose that if possible, the community can also pay for vaccines independently, (this applies) for those who can afford it," Thohir said.

Erick Thohir, who is also the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, added that Indonesian pharmaceutical companies have collaborated with companies from China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to procure vaccines.

"Praise be to God (Alhamdulillah), we have two partnerships at this time, with Sinovac (China) and G42 (UAE)," he said.

He said Bio Farma and Sinovac are committed to producing 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year and 250 million doses by 2021.

Meanwhile, the cooperation with G42, he continued, will be carried out by Kimia Farma. The UAE company is currently conducting clinical trials in the country on 45,000 volunteers from 85 ethnic groups. G42 will deliver 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this year.

"The concept of vaccination will be twice for both Sinovac and G42. So, if we look at the cumulative from the two partnerships with the UAE and China, we will get 30 million vaccines in 2020, so that approximately 15 million people will be vaccinated, of course, if the clinical trials are well completed, " he explained.

He said his committee is also continuing to prioritize the ongoing development of the Red and White Vaccine.

"Of course, the priority is how the Red and White Vaccine will continue to run, that is why the President has also issued a Presidential Decree, planned for this week," Erick Thohir said. (INE)

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Translator: Zubi Mahrofi/Aria Cindyara
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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