With the slow development of its own phase three clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Indonesia said it has asked for data from Brazil, where a similar trial is progressing smoothly.
It expects to receive the safety and efficacy data on Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac by Dec 28, and hopes to finally start rolling out its vaccination program in January.
The phase three clinical trial is the final stage that a vaccine candidate must clear before it is given the go-ahead for use by the regulatory agency in a corresponding country.
BPOM, the Indonesian equivalent to US Food and Drug Administration, has requested the data through its Foreign Affairs Ministry, which then communicated with Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency and Sinovac, said a government official.
Within a matter of days after receiving the data, BPOM may issue its emergency use authorization on the vaccine, when a thorough evaluation is done.”
Brazil carried out a strict clinical trial on Sinovac's CoronaVac and started the trial earlier than Indonesia, the official added.
Dr Penny K. Lukito, BPOM's head, has said that it is always ready to accommodate the choice of a vaccine so long as it has gone through the proper trials.
The clinical trials do not have to be done in Indonesia. Data from the country the vaccines are from can be used as a basis for BPOM to evaluate and decide on emergency use approval,” she said.
Indonesia has so far secured commitments for the shipment of 189 million vaccine doses from China's Sinovac, Maryland-based Novavax and Covax, an international Covid-19 vaccine allocation platform co-led by the World Health Organization.
Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore and Turkey are among the countries expected to use CoronaVac as part of their vaccination program.
Indonesia, South-east Asia's most populous country, plans to vaccinate 107.2 million of people aged between 18 and 59, out of its population of 270 million. Those with per-existing medical conditions or deemed unfit will not be included in the program.
It has also set aside a buffer of 15% for its vaccine stockpile. At two doses each, it would thus need 247 million doses in its stockpile by next year.
Brazil registered 22,967 additional cases of the new coronavirus and 482 related deaths in the last 24 hours, revealed the country's Health Ministry on Friday. Brazil has now registered 7,448,560 total confirmed coronavirus cases and 190,488 deaths from COVID-19.