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.

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