Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) here, Wednesday, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Provision of Procurement Services that was prepared for obtaining and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, among others.

"With the signing of this MoU, it is expected that if vaccines, through a multilateral mechanism, already exist, then all necessary infrastructure will be readied, so that no delays in distribution occur," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who bore witness to the signing of an MoU between Indonesia's Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto and UNICEF Indonesia, stated.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Indonesia has consistently echoed the importance of access to equal, safe, and affordable vaccines, both through bilateral and multilateral channels.

Multilaterally, Indonesia is intensifying communication with the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO) -- the three main institutions pioneering the COVAX Facility formed to ensure fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Related news: Indonesia projected to receive 30 million vaccine doses in Q4-2020
Related news: Minister targets Indonesia to receive 290 million vaccines in 2021

Indonesia has been designated as one of the countries qualifying as an advance market commitment (AMC) category within the framework of the GAVI COVAX Facility, according to Marsudi.

"Indonesia will get vaccines for as much as 20 percent of the population, in which there will be financial relief assistance through the official development assistance (ODA) mechanism," she remarked.

To this end, communication with GAVI and the COVAX Facility continues to be intensified, including on the time of availability and the estimated price of vaccines available in 2021.

"What is certain is that with the ODA financial assistance, the vaccine price is expected to be cheaper than other mechanisms," Marsudi noted.

UNICEF has a Supply Division, which is the world's largest warehouse for storing and distributing humanitarian commodities, such as vaccines.

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the UNICEF Supply Division currently caters to the needs of 140 member countries, including Indonesia.

“UNICEF is an important partner in COVAX, a facility where once a vaccine becomes available in the world, all participating countries will have special access at affordable prices. Indonesia will be a part of this important initiative,” Debora Comini, the UNICEF representative for Indonesia, revealed.

Related news: Indigenous vaccine development team should work swiftly: Jokowi
Related news: Jokowi forms team for expediting COVID-19 vaccine development

Translator: Yashinta DP, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2020