New Straits Times
Indonesia expects Merah Putih vaccine to be available this year
Indonesia has expressed optimism that its indigenously-developed Merah Putih Covid-19 vaccines will be available for use this year as the government strives to meet the domestic demand for vaccines.
Antara News quoted Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin as saying that there are six vaccine candidates that could be adopted as Merah Putih vaccine.
Two candidate vaccines are anticipated to be ready for use after their production begins this year, he said on the sidelines during a working visit to Jayapura city, Papua on Wednesday.
While Indonesia may seem a bit late in developing the indigenous vaccines, named Merah Putih after the national flag, Budi said the government has demonstrated its seriousness on the vaccine development initiative by forming special teams for the purpose.
The minister remarked that availability of Covid-19 vaccine doses in each nation would enable them to determine their Covid-19 mitigation policies.
“Now there are only five countries producing Covid-19 vaccines.
If one of them is unwilling to offer its vaccines, it will trigger difficulties,” he reasoned, adding that was why the ministry supported the fast-tracking of the vaccine candidates development.
Previously, Antara News reported that the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, was developing one of the Merah Putih vaccine candidates.
The first batch of its Merah Putih vaccine seeds was handed over to state-owned pharmaceutical company, Bio Farma, at the end of last month, which Eijkman is partnering with to hold trials and produce the vaccine candidate.