Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia still has five million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which are sufficient to meet demand until the end of 2023, according to Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, the Director General of Disease Prevention and Control at the Health Ministry.

The IndoVac and InaVac brand vaccines have been supplied through domestic production involving pharmaceutical companies PT Bio Farma and PT Biotis Pharmaceuticals Indonesia, Rondonuwu informed.

"The two companies have been supporting the national capability in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines since the beginning of 2023," he said during an FMB9 Dialogue event titled "Official, COVID-19 becomes Endemic," which was streamed on Monday.

The use of vaccines during the endemic period is being discussed among epidemiologists and the Indonesia Technical Advisory Group of Immunization (ITAGI).

The discussion is focused on integrating COVID-19 vaccine services with the national routine program, administration intervals, target audience, and financing mechanisms.

The discussion refers to a guide from the World Health Organization (WHO), which directs the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to high-risk groups such as the elderly and people with comorbidities.

"For those who have not received primary vaccination, the government will cover the cost," he noted.

Rondonuwu aims to complete the stipulations related to COVID-19 vaccination during the endemic period by 2024.

During the event on Monday, Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Griffith University Australia, stated that domestic vaccine production is a strategic policy amid the ongoing threat of COVID-19 during the endemic period.

"The smooth transition from the acute phase to the endemic status requires 20 to 30 years. This means that the demand for vaccines will always exist, especially for primary vaccinations for children," he explained.

Dependency on imported products has caused Indonesia to lag behind in vaccine production capability, as it is not an easy task, Budiman said.

According to Budiman, there are several scenarios that can change the pandemic status to endemic, including vaccination and the provision of medicines or factors that can alter the behavior of the virus.

"Vaccines have numerous impacts, including reducing the mortality rate by 47 percent and decreasing the number of new cases by approximately 37 percent," he added.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Anton Santoso
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