Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia is competing with India and South Korea to emerge as a hub for training and transfer of knowledge for COVID-19 vaccine production in the Asia-Pacific region, a Foreign Affairs Ministry official has said.

“At this moment, we are competing with India and South Korea for the (designation as a vaccine) hub,” Director of Socio-cultural Affairs and International Organization of Developing Countries at the ministry Penny D Herasati disclosed during a virtual media gathering on 'The 2020 Indonesia’s Multilateral Diplomacy Priority, Activity Plan, and Achievement' on Tuesday.

Vaccine hubs are being planned by the World Health Organization (WHO) in several regions to achieve global herd immunity, she informed.

South Africa has become the country hub for the African region owing to the low rate of vaccine production in the region, she added.

“The African countries producing the vaccine are very few, one or two. So, South Africa was quickly considered to be its hub,” Herasati said.

The Asia-Pacific hub will be a training center where experts will transfer knowledge and technology pertaining to the mRNA vaccine, she informed.

“Why mRNA technology? Because it offers the fastest technology and all countries are expediting to start producing vaccines with such a platform. At this moment, the WHO is planning to build a hub for training and technology transfer, not for producing the vaccines,” Herasati expounded.

The government is preparing for the hub’s due diligence to be carried out in the near future, she said.

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Indonesia has some strategies for winning against India and South Korea, she said adding that one of them is presenting the competence of its pharmaceutical industry through deeming state-owned company, Bio Farma, as a center of excellence.

“Therefore, Asian health experts will come and transfer the mRNA technology and they will disseminate the knowledge when they go back to their countries,” she said, adding that the WHO and the international community are urged to pay more attention to the country that deserves to improve its capacity. "We will tell about this,” she stressed.

In addition, Indonesia’s COVID-19 handling, including its progress and achievements, will be taken into consideration by the WHO.

The government is also playing an active role in speaking up to ensure developing countries receive equal treatment pertaining to vaccine procurement, Herasati pointed out.

“Every sphere will be calculated. Indonesia continues to speak up for the interest of developing countries. It is also the point. How the country handles and controls the infection number along with its reference will become such a reference. There are many points of the policies contributing to Indonesia’s achievement for being designated as a vaccine hub,” she explained.

As of October 3, 2021, Indonesia has received 39 million additional vaccine doses, taking the total doses received so far to 267 million, the ministry’s multilateral cooperation director general Febrian A Ruddyard informed.

“Currently, the government is improving the infrastructure for vaccine hub that will be announced by WHO in 2022,” he remarked.

Related news: China supports Indonesia to become COVID-19 vaccine production hub

Reporter: Juwita Trisna Rahayu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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