Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government is striving to secure COVID-19 vaccine stocks for the short, medium, and long term through a double-track mechanism involving cooperation with overseas partners and developing its own vaccine.

Indonesia’s cooperation with overseas partners for securing the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is aimed at meeting the nation’s demand for vaccination in the short-term, Research and Technology Minister, Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, said on Tuesday.

The second strategy the government has adopted to secure the availability of the vaccine for the medium and long term is supporting the development of the indigenous Merah Putih (Red-and-White) vaccine candidate, he added.

Speaking at an online press briefing that ANTARA joined from Jakarta, he said securing COVID-19 vaccine stocks for the medium and long term is necessary to anticipate the possibility of administering two doses of the vaccine to every targeted individual.

If, in the early stage of immunization, every targeted person needs to receive two doses of the vaccine, Indonesia will need more stocks of COVID-19 vaccines, he pointed out adding, the Merah Putih vaccine, which is currently under development, is aimed at meeting future demand.

Over the past few months, the Indonesian government has been making efforts to ensure adequate supply of vaccines for the entire nation.

Indonesia has even delivered an expression of interest to join the COVAX Initiative, co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

The COVAX Initiative aims to work with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that all supporting nations worldwide have quick and equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said recently.

Through the COVAX scheme, participating rich countries will be financing the COVID-19 vaccine from their national budgets and collaborating with 92 middle- and low-income nations through voluntary donations to ensure fair distribution of the vaccine.

Indonesia alone belongs to a list of countries that are considered eligible to obtain funding assistance for the COVAX Initiative for the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Marsudi stated.

The COVAX Initiative, which currently includes nine candidate vaccines developed via varied technologies and scientific approaches, is aimed at obtaining and supplying two billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021.

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

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

Currently, scientists across the world are making all-out efforts to develop and produce safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner. To this end, Indonesia has expressed concerns over the risks and uncertainties related to their developments, Marsudi stated.

Indonesia has unswervingly drawn focus to the significance of having safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the minister stated during an online press conference originating from Geneva, Switzerland, last Friday. (INE)

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Translator: Martha HS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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