Jakarta – Food and Drug Supervisory Agency, or BPOM, has greenlighted the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm for emergency use in Indonesia, in a move that could accelerate the country's vaccination program.
"[Emergency use authorization] has been given for vaccines produced by the Beijing Bio Institute, Sinopharm," Penny Lukito, BPOM's head, said in a press conference on Friday.
Sinopharm was the first among several vaccines private sectors proposed to use in their vaccination program that got clearance from the agency.
Penny said BPOM, Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (Itagi), and clinical experts have reviewed Sinopharm's data and determined that the vaccine is safe and effective.
Sinophapham's third phase clinical result showed that its Covid-19 vaccine has 79 percent efficacy – meaning the proportion of infection among vaccinated people is about a fifth of the proportion of infection among those who were not vaccinated.
Kimia Farma, a unit of state-owned pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma was the one registering the Sinopharm vaccine to BPOM to acquire emergency use authorization.
The government requires private sector vaccine procurement to exclusively use Bio Farma to prevent vaccine supplies from leaking to the black market.
Honesti Basyir, Bio Farma's president director, said earlier that Bio Farma had secured around 35 million doses of covid-19 vaccine for the independent vaccination program. Those include 15 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China and 20 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.
The private sector was keen to carry out a separate vaccination program to accelerate the vaccination rate in the country.
Currently, the government prioritizes vaccination on healthcare workers, workers in the service industry, and the elderly.
But, delays in shipments from vaccine producers and lack of domestic vaccine bottling capacity had stuttered the government's vaccination program, with only 11.3 million, or 6.2 percent of its eligible population getting at least the first dose of vaccine so far.
At the current rate of around 275,000 vaccination per day, Indonesia would finish injecting 181.5 million people with two doses of vaccine in July 2024, according to the Globe's calculation using the government data. The government targets to complete the vaccination in March next year.