Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | 04:59 pm

The government says it has secured commitments for the delivery of 271.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Of that number, 30 million doses are expected to be ready by the end of this year. Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, who also helms the national economic recovery and COVID-19 response team, said the ordered vaccines were produced by Chinese firms Cansino, Sinovac and Sinopharm.

It was also confirmed by Airlangga that the government is securing the UK pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca for 100 million doses of COVID-19. “By the end of this month, or around US$ 250 million, we’ll make a 50% down payment,” he said as quoted on tribunnews.com on Monday.

Currently, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir are abroad to secure 100 million doses of the vaccine,” Airlangga said. Apart from sourcing COVID-19 vaccines from abroad, the government and local pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma are also working on COVID-19 vaccines.

β€œWe need to secure the procurement of the vaccines, because 215 countries are all competing for the same thing,” Airlangga said. He added that there was an order of priority for the vaccination of different groups of people, as stated in Presidential Regulation No. 99/2020 on vaccine procurement and vaccination to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation stipulates that vaccination must be given priority to front line workers, from healthcare workers and paramedics touch monitoring to army and law enforcement personnel. Some 3.5 million people are numbered.

The second priority group is ethnic, community officials, district, village, community and neighborhood authorities of over 5 million residents.

Over 4 million teachers at different levels of education make up the third priority category.

The fourth group is elected leaders of more than 2 million members of the legislative council.

The fifth group is members of the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) whose fees are paid by the government. Their number exceeds 86 million individuals.

The last group of more than 57 million is the general public. Meanwhile, University of Indonesia epidemiologist Pandu Riono has questioned the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines to be distributed in Indonesia.

According to him, all the candidate COVID-19 vaccines are still in the clinical trial stage and there is no scientific evidence yet on their effectiveness. “Are you sure that these vaccines are effective and safe? Where is the scientific evidence? That has never been discussed openly,” Pandu said. (iwa)

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