Indonesia approves Sinopharm vaccine for private COVID-19 inoculation scheme

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Indonesia has greenlighted the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm on Friday (Apr 30), as the country looks to boost its vaccination programme by involving the private sector.

The authorisation came on the same day as the country received its first shipment of the vaccine. On Friday, 482,400 doses of ready-to-use Sinopharm vaccine, along with 6 million doses of vaccine from another Chinese company Sinovac, arrived in Indonesia.

Indonesia is looking to expedite its vaccination programme through a private immunisation scheme, where companies buy government-procured vaccines to inoculate their staff. Sinopharm became the first vaccine to be approved by the country’s Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) for this scheme.

“We now have one more vaccine variety and (Sinopharm) will be used for the Gotong Royong vaccination (programme),” BPOM chief Penny Lukito told a press conference, referring to the private immunisation scheme by its Indonesian moniker. Gotong royong means working together in Indonesian.

The government has said that vaccines for the Gotong Royong scheme will differ from those used for the national programme, which is currently using vaccines produced by Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

Gotong Royong is set to begin in the third or fourth week of May, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce.

Indonesia is looking to procure around 35 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the private vaccination programme. These include 15 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine and 20 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.

 

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