The procurement effort necessitates a coordination meeting with the Health Ministry and the Religious Affairs Ministry, BPOM head Penny K. Lukito said while attending a hearing with Commission IX of the House of Representatives (DPR), which was followed on YouTube on Tuesday.
Currently, there are four meningitis vaccine procurement channels in Indonesia, she informed.
These comprise procurement through PT Mersifarma under the Formening trademark, state-owned enterprise PT Bio Farma under the Menivax brand, Glaxo under the Menveo brand, and PT Aventis under the Menactra brand.
According to Lukito, issues have been faced in importing vaccines from these producers in Indonesia, which has resulted in the scarcity of meningitis vaccines for Umrah pilgrims.
Meningitis vaccine stocks in Indonesia currently stand at 66 vials amid relatively high demand from Umrah pilgrims, the agency noted.
"Formening has already received a distribution license number, but the trouble lies in the access," Lukito informed.
"Currently, producers cannot yet import products due to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) inspection finding in the country of origin by local authorities," she added.
GMP is a guideline for using good practices to create quality and safe-to-consume products, in accordance with consumer demand.
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The Menivax vaccine obtained a distribution license from BPOM in August 2022, and the agency has also issued an import clarification letter, Lukito informed.
"This letter is being used by Bio Farma to manage exports from China," she explained.
"Based on communication with Bio Farma, they are not ready with the high demand for meningitis vaccine, thus they do not prepare them ahead of time," she added.
Bio Farma has committed to gradually importing 675 doses of the vaccine from October 2022 to January 2023.
Meanwhile, Menveo vaccine producers have informed that their products have not been in distribution for a long time.
Menactra vaccine was last imported on July 11, 2022. According to BPOM's records, 6,600 boxes of the vaccine were imported, but the stocks are currently down to just 66 vials.
Aventis, the owner of the distribution license for the vaccine, will bring 5,400 vials to Indonesia at the end of October 2022, Lukito said.
"We are seeking other methods to expedite meningitis vaccine procurement, such as through the Special Access Scheme (SAS). I will ask BPOM Deputy I to look for other sources in the international route," she informed.
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