Indonesia receives 500,000 AstraZeneca doses from Australia

Indonesia receives 500,000 AstraZeneca doses from Australia

A screenshot of Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi at an online press conference on the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines from Australia on Thursday (September 2, 2021). (ANTARA/HO-YouTube Sekretariat Presiden)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has received 500 thousand doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine through a dose-sharing mechanism from Australia. The vaccines arrived at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Thursday afternoon, according to a cabinet member.

"The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine is the first delivery of the Australian government's plan to provide 2.5 million doses of vaccines in 2021 for the people of Indonesia," Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said in a virtual speech on the arrival of the vaccine.

In addition, the Australian government has also committed to providing 77.1 million Australian dollars (around Rp. 811.3 billion) for the procurement of vaccines to Indonesia, which will be channeled through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Vaccine cooperation was one of the topics the Foreign Affairs Minister discussed over several telephone communications with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, including the last one on July 7, 2021.

To continue to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries that was formed in 2018, Indonesia and Australia are planning to hold a 2+2 meeting in the near future, Marsudi said.

The 2+2 meeting will be a meeting between the foreign affairs ministers and defense ministers between Indonesia and Australia, she added.

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In addition to the ministerial level talks, efforts to strengthen cooperation in handling COVID-19 are also being intensively made at the highest level of the two countries' leaders. President Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison regularly hold telephone conversations, with the last recorded on 24 June 2021.

"On behalf of the Indonesian government, I would like to thank the Australian government and people for their cooperation in handling COVID-19," Minister Marsudi said.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Penny Williams expressed her pride in being able to stand with Indonesia in these difficult times due to the pandemic.

"We are pleased to be able to work together as our two countries face and begin their recovery from COVID-19," she remarked.

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