JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia has approved its first locally developed COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, the head of the country’s public health agency said yesterday, hailing it as a step toward “the nation’s independence in access to medicine”.
Jakarta has stressed the importance of developing national vaccines since the beginning of the pandemic but it currently relies on China’s Sinovac and the Western-made Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jabs.
The IndoVac jab, developed by state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and Texas-based Baylor College of Medicine, can now be used as a primary dose for an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adult in the world’s fourth most-populous country.
“The development… of a domestic vaccine is a pride for us Indonesians as a foundation and as the first step to achieve the nation’s independence in access to medicine,” head of the national food and drugs agency (BPOM) Penny Lukito said at a press conference yesterday.
The medical chief said IndoVac had shown an efficacy rate of 92 per cent, while there were no reports of death linked to it in trials and reported side effects were “generally mild”.
A clinical study to use it as a booster jab is underway.