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Indonesia approves China’s Sinovac vaccine as infections surge

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ILUSTRASI. BPOM head Penny K. Lukito

Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Yudho Winarto

KANTOROBAT.COM –¬†JAKARTA. Indonesia gave Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine its first emergency use approval outside China on Monday as the world’s fourth most populous country launches nationwide inoculations to stem surging infections and deaths.

A lack of data and varying efficacy rates reported for the vaccine from different countries could undermine public trust in the rollout, according to public health experts.

Interim data from a late-stage human test of CoronaVac showed it is 65.3% effective, Indonesia’s food and drugs authority BPOM said – lower than figures in Brazil and Turkey which have yet to launch mass vaccinations.

BPOM head Penny K. Lukito said the results met the requirements of the World Health Organization’s minimum efficacy of 50%.

“Let’s support the COVID-19 vaccination program, because the success of COVID-19 handling belongs to us as a nation,” she said.

President Joko Widodo is set to get his first dose on Wednesday in a sign of the priority placed on immunisation in a country of 270 million people that has done far less than Southeast Asian neighbours to contain the virus.

But some public health specialists question how effective the rollout will be given the limited number of doses available, logistical challenges across thousands of islands and scepticism over the vaccine.

A BPOM official said 25 infections were found to get the efficacy rate, but without giving further details.

Dale Fisher of the National University of Singapore told the Reuters Next conference on Monday that not releasing detailed data could be problematic for a fast rollout.

“Messaging is more important than ever,” he said.

Indonesia has suffered more than 24,343 deaths from 836,700 cases. Over a tenth of deaths were in the last two weeks.

A Brazil-based study last week showed Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective. Turkish researchers said in December it showed 91.25% efficacy based on interim analysis.

To start, only three million doses of CoronaVac will be available in Indonesia. Some 1.2 million doses have been dispatched to 34 provinces, which span an area wider than the continental United States.






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