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Indonesia President Joko Widodo. Source: Getty Images.
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  • Just days after becoming the first country outside of China to approve the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, Indonesia is preparing to rapidly roll out an ambitious immunisation effort
  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to receive the first vaccine later today
  • The plan will begin by administering the treatment to 1.3 million frontline health care workers
  • In total, the nation’s vaccine initiative hopes to immunise around 180 million people in the first year

Just days after becoming the first country outside of China to approve the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, Indonesia is preparing to rapidly roll out an ambitious immunisation effort.

According to Indonesia’s regulatory agency, Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine has been shown to be just 65 per cent effective in late-stage trials.  

Much like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, CoronaVac can be stored at fridge temperatures, making it ideal for developing nations where advanced storage facilities may not be widely available.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to receive the first vaccine later today. It will mark the start of the nation’s ambitious vaccine rollout, which hopes to immunise around 180 million people in a single year.    

However, concerns surrounding the vaccine’s efficacy are continuing to rise, as more countries such as Brazil and Turkey commence their own studies.

These studies have thus far shown widely differing results, with Brazil’s trial of 13,000 participants recording just 60 per cent effectiveness, while Turkey’s 1,300-person trial boasted upwards of 90 per cent.  

According to Penny Lukito, head of Indonesia’s food and drug regulator, the studies from Brazil and Turkey were taken into account during the approval process.

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

The plan will begin by administering the treatment to 1.3 million frontline health care workers, which are currently labouring under ever-increasing new daily cases of the virus. Indonesia is currently posting around 9,000 new cases each day, making it the worst-affected country in Southeast Asia.

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