Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartanto announced that the government had earmarked Rp 3.8 trillion for the down payment for purchasing COVID-19 vaccine.
"One of our top priority programs for next year is COVID-19 vaccine procurement. This year we have allocated Rp 3.7 trillion for the vaccine," Airlangga said in an online presser on Monday.
"Next year we plan to set aside Rp 37 trillion for a multi-year program," he added.
Airlangga explained that the government was eyeing several potential vaccines that were currently under development.
The first is the Merah Putih vaccine, which is being developed by the Research and Technology Ministry and the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology.
The second is the vaccine being developed by state pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma in cooperation with Sinovac Biotech of China. The third vaccine is the one being developed by United Arab Emirates' Group 42 (G42) Healthcare.
"We plan to procure 290 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine next year and 30 million doses of the G42 vaccine this year," Airlangga said.
He explained that the Health Ministry was set to prepare the vaccination process, which is expected to start early next year.
"With the procurement of 30 million doses of [G42] vaccine by the end of this year, we hope to start the vaccination process early next year," he said.
PT Bio Farma and Sinovac along with Padjadjaran University (Unpad) in Bandung, West Java are launching phase III clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine – the last stage of clinical testing in humans during which the vaccine is given to thousands of people to confirm and expand results on safety and efficacy from phase I and II trials – along with several countries such as Brazil and Bangladesh.
The Sinovac phase III clinical trials in Bandung are to run for six months.
The government has also given Eijkman 12 months starting from April to develop vaccine prototypes that have been tested on animals, to be given to Bio Farma for clinical trials. Bio Farma aims to mass-produce the vaccine by 2022 after earning approval from the BPOM.
The Merah Putih vaccine is expected to cover at least 50 percent of Indonesia's vaccine needs, given the country's large population.