Indonesia launched its first home-grown COVID-19 shot Thursday to help reduce the world’s fourth most populous nation’s dependency on imported vaccines. www.medscape.com/viewarticle/982435?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=398271FG&impID=4751294&faf=1
President Joko Widodo announced the vaccine brand, IndoVac, as a new milestone for Indonesia’s pharmaceutical industry that will manufacture primary series vaccines, booster vaccines and vaccines for children, which have been in development since November 2021.
Indonesia’s Food and Drug Authority greenlighted emergency use authorization of IndoVac in September, with an efficacy above 80% after two shots. The vaccine passed an audit by the country’s highest Islamic body that the shot is fit for consumption by Muslims — a particularly important factor in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
IndoVac, made by inserting the genetic code for the antigen into yeast cells, is developed by state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma in collaboration with US-based Baylor College of Medicine, a private, independent health sciences center in Houston, Texas.
Widodo said Bio Farma plans to produce 20 million doses of primary series vaccine this year and 40 million doses next year as the company expands its facilities. In 2024, production may further increase to 120 million doses per year, depending on demand and the market.
As of Thursday, 73% of Indonesia’s 234.6 million people eligible for shots were fully two-dose vaccinated, and about 27% had a first booster dose.
Overall, Indonesia has reported more than 6.4 million infections and 158,263 deaths from COVID-19. The actual numbers are widely believed to be higher.
Lalita Panicker is consulting editor, views, Hindustan Times, New Delhi