Indonesia to begin mass vaccination after approving China's Sinovac drug
Indonesia's food and drugs agency approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech for emergency use on Monday, initiating the country’s planned mass vaccination program from Wednesday.
Indonesia is the first country outside of China to approve the Sinovac vaccine.
The Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's top Islamic body, gave the Sinovac vaccine halal status last week.
Indonesia added another 8,692 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking its total to 836,718. It also reported that another 214 people had died within the last 24 hours, taking its death toll to 24,343. The government extended its existing ban on foreign visitors, which was set to end on 14 January, for two more weeks.
President Joko Widodo, aged 59, will receive the first shot, followed by 1.3 million health care workers.
Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, aged 77, will not be receiving the vaccination for now, according to his spokesperson.
Indonesia is prioritizing vaccinating its working-age population (18- 59 age groups), in the hope of kick-starting economic activity.
The health ministry has set a target of vaccinating 181 million of Indonesia's 270 million people in 12 months. The country has so far managed to secure 229 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac, Novavax, and global vaccine program COVAX.
It is in talks to secure 50 million doses each from AstraZeneca and Pfizer.