Indonesia receives 1m Chinese vaccine doses

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Jakarta

Indonesia has received 1.2 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac, officials said, as the world’s fourth most populous nation struggles to get soaring case rates under control.
The doses arrived in Jakarta late Sunday on a flight from Beijing, with another 1.8 million expected to be sent again next month.
Although Chinese regulators have yet to clear any of country’s vaccines for mass distribution, they have approved some advanced candidates for emergency use. On Monday, Indonesia’s Covid-19 response team chief Airlangga Hartarto said the first batch of doses will be examined by the food and drug agency, with plans to distribute them to medical workers and other high-risk groups.
The country’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), will also check the first consignment, officials said — to ensure it meets halal requirements in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. Late Sunday, President Joko Widodo welcomed the delivery. ‘We are grateful that the vaccine is now available and we can immediately prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak,’ he said. ‘(But) I have to reiterate, first, that all procedures must be followed properly to ensure public health and safety, and the efficacy of the vaccine,’ he added. In August, Indonesia launched human trials of the Sinovac-made jab, with around 1,600 volunteers taking part in the six-month study.—APP

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