Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC to secure 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.

The LoI was signed after an Indonesian delegation, comprising Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, and a team from the Health Ministry, met with AstraZeneca PLC's representatives in London on Wednesday.

Speaking to Indonesian journalists through an online press conference that ANTARA participated in from Jakarta, Retno Marsudi said the Indonesian government has sought the supply of 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for 2021.

AstraZeneca PLC’s representatives have warmly welcomed Indonesia's request, she said, adding that the first shipment of the vaccine may likely be carried out in the first semester of 2021, and on a gradual basis.

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the British pharmaceutical company is among the vaccine candidates that have entered the third phase of clinical trials, as recorded by the World Health Organization.

At the meeting, AstraZeneca PLC representatives expressed their great interest in building long-term cooperation and collaboration with Indonesia, said Marsudi.

The Indonesian delegation emphasized the importance of security and vaccine efficacy/effectiveness as factors that need to be incorporated in the two parties' vaccine-related cooperation, she said.

AstraZeneca hinted at its willingness to share the results of its first and second phase clinical trials, she remarked.

Indonesia’s cooperation with the British pharmaceutical company is part of efforts to secure the supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, under which the archipelagic nation has earlier signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Sinopharm Ltd, she added.

To ensure a sufficient supply of vaccines for the entire nation, the Indonesian government has been expanding its cooperation with overseas partners.

To explore potential cooperation in COVID-19 vaccine procurement and supply, the Foreign Minister, the State-Owned Enterprises, and a team from the Health Ministry are currently visiting the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

During their visit, the Indonesian delegates are scheduled to meet with the director general of the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) and representatives of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).

They will discuss matters related to the COVAX Initiative through which the GAVI Alliance is coordinating COVID-19 vaccine procurement and supply, Marsudi had noted earlier adding, CEPI is monitoring the research and development of potential COVID-19 vaccine products.

Under the COVAX Initiative, once COVID-19 vaccines are available, they will be procured through the UNICEF Supply Division.

Under the cooperation scheme, the UNICEF has been mandated to coordinate the procurement and supply of the COVID-19 vaccine for more than 140 countries, including Indonesia, to allow each country to have equal access and outreach to the vaccine.

The Indonesian delegation's visit to the UK and Switzerland is also expected to boost mid- and long-term cooperation between state pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma and its overseas partners, Marsudi stated. (INE)

Related news: MUI delegation to visit China for COVID-19 vaccine's halal audit

Related news: Preclinical testing of Red and White vaccine likely in Nov: Eijkman


Translator: Yashinta DP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020