Jakarta – The Indonesian Food and Drug Supervisory Agency, or BPOM, approved Sinovac vaccine for emergency use on Monday, making it the first coronavirus vaccine to be administered in the country.
The vaccine, developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, has undergone phase 3 clinical trial in the West Java capital of Bandung involving more than 1,600 volunteers. Several other countries such as Brazil and Turkey also have put the vaccine in human trials involving a much larger number of participants.
"Results from the phase three clinical trial of Coronavac vaccine in Bandung demonstrate a 65.3 percent efficacy, in comparison to a 91.5 percent efficacy during a similar trial in Turkey and 78 percent in Brazil," BPOM Head Penny Kusumastuti Lukito said in a news conference in Jakarta.She noted that the World Health Organization requires a minimum 50 percent efficacy for the use of a vaccine.
"The Coronavac vaccine has met requirements for emergency use and accordingly the BPOM grants the emergency use authorization for the Coronavax vaccine manufactured by Sinovac Biotech, in collaboration with Bio Farma," she said.
Indonesia has received 3 million doses of Sinovac vaccine in the first batch of shipment last month.
The State Palace announced last week President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will be among the first to get the jab of Sinovac vaccine live on television on Wednesday.
BPOM decision came as the surge in newly infections has reached a new level in recent weeks, with the daily count exceeding 10,000 for the first time on Friday.
The country has recorded a total of 828,026 cases as of Sunday, including 24,129 deaths, according to Health Ministry data. If the current trend continues, the total number of cases will reach the 1 million mark in four weeks.
Of the total figures, 122,873 are active cases, the highest number yet since the outbreak started.
Nearly 85,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the first 10 days of the month, while the seven-day average set a new high for the fifth day in a row on Sunday.
Newly cases are spiraling beyond control in Jakarta, which has registered more cases than those of East and West Java combined. The capital city has been averaging 2,239 cases since Jan. 1 to take its total to 206,122.
It saw a dramatic upturn in newly cases on Christmas, when the daily count topped 2,000 for the first time. Jakarta is home to 25 percent of overall cases nationwide.
West Java is at a distant second with 97,570 cases in total as the virus is spreading at the fastest speed in the country's most populous province. It averages 1,399 cases in the 10-day period.
In comparison, West Java averaged 1,022 cases throughout December when it saw the highest monthly total.
The daily count topped 1,000 for the second time in East Java, bringing its total to 92,613.
Central Java is also in an ongoing surge in coronavirus cases, adding 10,000 cases in the 10-day period for a total of 91,715.
The country's four most populous provinces make up 59 percent of the national tally.
In the second group of major hotspots, South Sulawesi is leading the way with a total of 36,513 cases. It has added 5,466 cases since Jan. 1, more than a half its total number of cases in December.
The surge continues in East Kalimantan, which has set a daily high twice in the last four days. The province has been averaging 344 cases in the first 10 days of the year to bring its total to 30,511.
While the growth of newly cases is slowing in Riau and West Sumatra, two remaining provinces in Java have been gaining the pace.
The seven-day average in Banten has set a new record for the seventh straight day, while Yogyakarta reported a record-breaking run of four consecutive days.
Banten is ranked ninth among worst-hit provinces with a total of 20,513 cases.
While remaining outside the top ten of worst-affected provinces, the rate of new infections in Yogyakarta has outpaced that of Riau, West Sumatra, Banten and Bali, all were ranked higher in terms of the total number of cases.
Yogyakarta, in the southern Java Island, has been averaging 277 cases month to date, in comparison to 234 in Banten, 164 in Bali, 137 in Riau and 105 in West Sumatra.
A further 182 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded on Sunday, bringing the total death toll to 24,129.
The daily death toll has been exceeding 100 since Nov. 22. The virus has killed 1,991 people in the last 10 days, or 600 more deaths from the figure at this point last month.
That suggests that January could see another record for the highest monthly death toll beating the December figures.
East Java has the most Covid-19 death toll with a total of 6,441 as of Sunday, an increase of 61 on its number the previous day.
Central Java comes next with a total of 4,031 deaths, followed by Jakarta (3,485) and West Java (1,219).