Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir has said that his ministry has no plans to commercialize COVID-19 vaccines.

"Regarding prices, from the beginning, we in the SOE Ministry have been very open. We are not thinking about commercializing the COVID-19 vaccines," Thohir said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

In reality, the government pays for the vaccines — they are not free of charge, he added.

Indonesia has so far secured 54 million vaccine doses free of cost through the World Health Organization (WHO) and spent nearly Rp77 trillion on procuring additional vaccine doses to cater to the large population of the country, which are being distributed free of charge.

Related news: Indonesia secures 6.48 million vaccine doses from Sinovac, Sinopharm

“The government has spent Rp77 trillion for the procurement of free vaccines (vaccines that are being offered to the public for free), and I think this is one of the largest in the world that we must appreciate," Thohir said, adding that the government will not look for margin or profit in distributing vaccines.

The SOE Ministry and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) have kept vaccine prices transparent and they are being audited by the Financial and Development Supervisory Agency (BPKP), he assured.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the SOE Ministry has consistently undertaken public services, such as CSR activities and renovation of the Wisma Atlet emergency hospital for COVID-19, and establishment of vaccination centers in four cities, the minister said.

"This is the context, and please be proportional. Do not think that SOEs are commercializing the vaccines. In fact, SOEs are helping accelerate the vaccine program in a transparent and professional manner because this is part of the transformation that we consistently implement in the SOE Ministry," he added. (INE)

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Translator: Aji Cakti, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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