Gov’t to Begin COVID-19 Vaccination This Week With President Jokowi First in Line
The Government has announced the COVID-19 vaccination will start on Wednesday (13/1) with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo becoming the first person to receive it.
“We will start (the vaccination) on Wednesday and President Jokowi will receive the first dose,” Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in Jakarta, Monday (11/1).
However, the Minister added, the free vaccination will be carried out once the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) issues an emergency use authorization (EUA).
“The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has also issued a fatwa on the halal aspect of the vaccine, while the BPOM will also issue the EUA soon,” he said.
The Government, Budi added, will not skip approval from the BPOM as it is an independent agency that has the scientific right to determine whether this vaccine is feasible or not.
Meanwhile, Head of the BPOM Penny Lukito on Monday (11/1) said that her agency had approved the use in an emergency for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac.
“Today, the BPOM has granted an emergency use authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac Biotech Incorporated in collaboration with (state-owned pharmaceutical company) PT Bio Farma,” she said.
According to Penny, the decision was based on the discussion between members of the National Committee for Drug Evaluation, a team of experts in the field of immunology, Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI), and epidemiologists on 10 January 2021.
This decision, she added, is also carried out based on the results of evaluation and comprehensive discussion of supporting data and scientific evidence that supports safety, efficacy, and quality aspects of the vaccine.
“The BPOM always prioritizes prudence, integrity, and independence, as well as transparency in making decisions to grant this EUA in the framework of protecting public health,” said Penny.
For the record, the COVID-19 vaccination will be carried out for around 182 million Indonesians to obtain herd immunity and will be carried out in stages with the first priority being health workers as the frontline in handling the pandemic.
President Jokowi himself has also reaffirmed readiness to be the first person to receive the vaccine in order to give public confidence in the safety of the vaccine.
“I want to emphasize that I will be the first person who will get vaccinated in order to give trust and confidence to the public that the vaccine is safe,” he said. (TGH/UN) (EST/EP)