Health Ministry urges Bio Farma to boost vaccine production capacity

Health Ministry urges Bio Farma to boost vaccine production capacity

An airport worker carries Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine in the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Cengkareng, Banten, on Sunday (April 18, 2021). (ANTARA/HO-Satpres).

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry has urged state-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma to enhance the capacity of COVID-19 vaccine production to cater to the demand for the vaccination program in May 2021.

"The government ensured that the vaccine has arrived for the May vaccination. It called on Bio Farma to increase the production capacity," the ministry's spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccination, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, noted in a statement here on Wednesday.

Tarmizi stressed on the importance of higher production capacity to expedite the vaccination program, so that bulk vaccines having arrived in the country can be immediately processed and distributed for immunization.

In April 2021, Indonesia is scheduled to obtain vaccines from Sinovac and AstraZeneca. However, AstraZeneca has delayed the delivery after its main producing country, India, reported a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"As a result, vaccines, which should have been delivered in April, were sent only in May. The figure is less than 11 million. They will only deliver some five million doses," she stated.

Tarmizi confirmed that some 17 million vaccine doses had, so far, been administered to the public.  

"At least 11.1 million people have received the first shot, and 6.1 million individuals received the second shot. In total, 17 million doses of the vaccine have been administered," the spokesperson noted

The ministry reported that the vaccination program had reached some 11 million people, or six percent of the targeted population.

"As compared to the total population, the figure is still relatively low, thereby translating to the fact that it is not yet sufficient to create herd immunity," Tarmizi pointed out.

Bambang Heriyanto, Bio Farma’s spokesman, earlier highlighted that the company had manufactured 35 million doses of bulk vaccine from Sinovac.

Of the total, it had distributed 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to all Indonesian regions.

PT Bio Farma has received 59.5 million doses of the bulk vaccine from Sinovac, or some one-third of the total 140 million doses of the bulk vaccine for this year. Moreover, Sinovac has made a commitment to deliver 120 million doses of the bulk vaccine for next year.

"Of the total 59.5 million doses processed by Bio Farma, it is targeted to produce 46 million to 47 million doses of the vaccine," he stated.

EDITED BY INE

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