Indonesia’s mass vaccination plan faces delay over emergency approval

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s push for mass vaccinations to be rolled out in Dec 20 faces a delay after the country’s food and drugs agency warned it will not be able to give emergency authorisation until late-Jan 21 due to incomplete data.
  • In an interview last week, the president told Reuters that Indonesia aimed to start mass vaccination for medical staff and other frontline workers in Dec 20 in a bid to suppress a surging COVID-19 caseload and support a battered economy.
  • The plan is to use a number of vaccine candidates including one produced by China’s Sinovac, which has been undertaking clinical trials in Indonesia. Trials are also ongoing in Brazil.
  • Penny K. Lukito, the chief of Indonesia’s food and drugs agency, known by the acronym BPOM, told a parliamentary hearing that the Dec 20-timeline was not achievable as data from Brazil and Sinovac would not be available in time.
  • “It’s impossible we can issue the emergency use authorization in Dec 20,” she said, adding that the authorization could be given in the third or fourth week of Jan 21, pending interim data analysis of the clinical trials.
  • Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the head of the government’s national economic recovery committee, told the same hearing Indonesia would need 246 million vaccine doses for its population of 270 million.

External Link :