Indonesia’s drug regulator approved the COVID-19 vaccine of China’s Sinopharm, which it will use in a private immunization scheme where companies buy government-procured vaccines to inoculate their staff.
It has suffered one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, with 1.66 million infections and more than 45,000 deaths reported.
According to Chief of Indonesia’s FDA, Penny K. Lukito, Sinopharm vaccine recipients had reported higher antibody rates and rare side effects, such as swelling or diarrhea.
“Based on the evaluation and the benefits or risks consideration … BPOM has issued an emergency use authorization (for Sinopharm),” she told a news conference.
Verdi Budidarmo, CEO of Pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma which distributes the vaccine, said the private vaccination program, which starts next month, could “back up the government to reach herd immunity”.
Over 482,000 ready-to-use doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived on Friday, May 7.