Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The UK government announced on Monday that it would soon add China's Sinovac and Sinopharm to its list of approved Covid-19 vaccines for inbound travel, thus making traveling easier for fully vaccinated people coming from Indonesia.
Since last month, the UK has removed Indonesia off its travel red list and recognized the latter's proof of Covid-19 vaccination. But the recognition is only limited to the Western-made vaccines such as Pfizer, Astrazeneca, among others.
The UK government then decided to recognize the Covid-19 vaccines listed on the World Health Organization's emergency use listing (WHO EUL) for inbound travel. This will include Sinovac and Sinopharm – two Chinese-made vaccine brands commonly used in Indonesia.
These new changes will come into force on November 22 precisely at 4 a.m. local time in the UK.
Fully vaccinated passengers with a vaccine certificate from one of over 135 approved countries and territories – including Indonesia – are not required to take a pre-departure test, day-8 test, or self-isolate upon arrival.
Passengers will only need to pay for a lateral flow test to take prior before the end of their second day, post-arrival, according to the UK government's official website.
"Today's announcement is another step forward for the travel industry, businesses and for family and friends wanting to reunite or go abroad," Sajid Javid, the British Health and Social Care Secretary, said, as quoted from the website.
Sajid, however, reminded that the red list and quarantine system still remain vital in protecting the UK borders.
"We will not hesitate to take action by adding countries to the red list if necessary," he said.
Sinovac was the first vaccine brand in Indonesia to be approved by the National Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM).
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo himself got a Sinovac shot when kicking off the national vaccination program in January. Indonesia also receives regular shipments of the Sinovac vaccine. The most recent delivery of 4 million Sinovac doses landed in Indonesia on Monday.
Meanwhile, the business-funded Gotong Royong vaccination scheme in Indonesia uses the Sinopharm vaccine.
As of November 8, Indonesia has administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 125,394,487 people. About 79,212,475 people have received their second dose, government data shows.
Indonesia aims to vaccinate 208,265,720 people to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.