IDI urges govt to ensure safety of COVID-19 vaccine

IDI urges govt to ensure safety of COVID-19 vaccine

Researchers race to find novel coronavirus vaccine. (ANTARA/Shutterstock/am)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) has lauded the government’s efforts to secure COVID-19 vaccine supplies and demanded that it ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines for the planned immunization program.

In its letter to the Health Ministry, which ANTARA accessed here on Thursday, IDI’s central executive board praised the government for prioritizing the vaccination program for medical workers.

However, IDI chairman Daeng M Faqih, who signed the letter, highlighted the importance of ensuring that the safety, effectiveness, and immunogenicity of the COVID-19 vaccines is established before they are administered to Indonesians.

President Joko Widodo has instructed that the vaccination program should not be conducted in a hurry, he said, adding that the required vaccines could evidently be vetted through the published results of their Phase 3 clinical trials.

Faqih further revealed how other countries have also exercised caution when it comes to COVID-19 immunizations by waiting for more published data on the results of Phase 3 clinical trials.

The trials for China's Sinovac vaccine, for instance, would have been conducted on nine thousand volunteers in Brazil, but the results would have been published soon after 15 thousand volunteers had been vaccinated, he pointed out.

This reality shows that, apart from its significance in conquering the novel coronavirus disease, the vaccination program must not be conducted in a hurry, he said.

Over the span of the past few months, the Indonesian government has striven to ensure adequate supply of vaccines for the entire nation.

To explore potential cooperation for the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, and a team from the Health Ministry recently visited the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Marsudi had revealed that during their visit, the Indonesian delegates had deliberated on matters pertaining to the COVAC Initiative with related parties, including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).

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 COVID-19 vaccines for over 140 countries, including Indonesia, to allow each nation to have equal access and outreach to the vaccines.

The Indonesian delegation's visit to the UK and Switzerland was also aimed at boosting mid- and long-term cooperation between state pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma and its overseas partners, Marsudi explained.

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