Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has distributed seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the first phase of vaccination of the elderly in the country that will commence next week.
Nearly 70 percent of the seven million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to Java and Bali that recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Health Ministry's spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccination, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, stated during an online press conference here on Friday.
The vaccination program will commence in five municipalities in Jakarta and capitals of 33 provinces in Indonesia next week.
"In addition to all municipalities in Jakarta, the vaccine will be administered to the elderly in 33 provincial capital cities, such as Bandung in West Java, Denpasar in Bali, Medan in North Sumatra, and Makassar in South Sulawesi," she noted.
The cities were accorded priority in the vaccination program due to the limited vaccine stocks while the COVID-19 caseload in each of the provincial capitals is still high.
Vaccination of the elderly against the coronavirus is one of the strategic programs in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head of the COVID-19 Task Force, Doni Monardo, remarked recently that the elderly are a group vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 after the group of healthcare workers.
The Food and Drug Control Administration (BPOM) has issued the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine, Coronavac, for the group of people aged 60 years and above in Indonesia.
The BPOM had issued the permit on February 5, with two doses of each injection, and each dose administered at an interval of 28 days.
According to BPOM Head Penny Lukito, the emergency use permit is based on the results of monitoring for phase I and II of the clinical trial processes in China for administering vaccine to residents over 60 years of age.
Results of the clinical trial in China involving 400 elderly that were administered the Coronavac vaccine injection indicated an immunity level of up to 97.96 percent following the second injection.
The BPOM also took into account the results of the Phase III clinical trial in Brazil that showed the Covid-19 vaccine shots administered to 609 elderly generally led to mild side-effects: pain, nausea, fever, swelling, skin redness, and headaches.