The minister made the statement while leading the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Engagement Group (AMC EG) virtual meeting on December 6.
“We have less than four weeks until the end of 2021, and now, we have a new variant, the Omicron. This reminds us of the dangers of delaying equal vaccination and the importance of increasing efforts to realize vaccine equality for all," Marsudi said in a written statement on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Marsudi along with Ethiopian Health Minister Lia Tadesse and Canadian Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan led two meeting sessions to discuss developments related to the Omicron variant and the achievements and challenges faced by COVAX in the past year.
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To this end, representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that this new variant was reportedly detected in 45 countries.
Although most cases are from those returning from travel, some countries have reported local transmission and the surfacing of local clusters.
The WHO has yet to receive reports of deaths due to the Omicron variant.
According to the WHO data, ambiguity persists on whether the Omicron variant is more infectious or has a more severe impact than the Delta variant.
While awaiting further research on this new variant, countries are advised to take precautionary steps through applying strict health protocols, increasing testing and tracking, and accelerating vaccination.
Regarding the achievements and challenges faced, the COVAX Secretariat has conveyed various developments related to fundraising, vaccine distribution, and increasing the capacity of vaccine absorption in various countries.
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COVAX has raised US$10.9 billion, or around Rp 157.3 trillion, or exceeded the original target of US$9.3 billion.
Meanwhile, regarding vaccine distribution, out of the total target of 950 million doses for 2021, COVAX has distributed 611 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 144 countries. This condition is expected to improve in 2022, with more vaccine supplies available.
As of December 6, 2021, Indonesia has received 45,224,550 vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility.
COVAX AMC EG is a communication forum between COVAX and 92 AMC countries to discuss efforts to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Through this scheme, AMC countries can have access to vaccines for up to 20 percent of their population.
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