Indonesia green-lights emergency use of Chinese vaccine
(Sourced from PTI)
Indonesia's Food and Drug Authority on Monday green-lighted emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine, called CoronaVac, produced by China-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Vaccination of high-risk groups is expected to start later this week. Conditional vaccination of healthcare workers and other civil servants is expected to begin this week. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he would be the first person to receive the vaccine.
Penny Lukito, the chief of Indonesia Food and Drug Monitoring Agency said, "Based on the data and considering the guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), CoronaVac has met the requirements to get the permit to use the vaccine."
The vaccine was cleared for emergency use after Indonesian authorities reviewed clinical trial data from Brazil, Turkey, and Indonesia, which are all taking part in Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine. Indonesia conducted its own Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine with 1,620 volunteers. Results announced at Monday's news conference said the efficacy rate was 65.3 percent.
Brazil's Instituto Butantan had said last week that the vaccine was 78 percent effective in mild cases and 100 percent effective against severe and moderate infections based on 220 cases from 13,000 volunteers. In December, Turkish authorities had announced an efficacy rate of 91.25 percent.
However, some experts have said they would prefer more data from clinical trials. Griffith University epidemiologist Dr. Dicky Budiman said, "Many people have questioned and expressed doubt about the vaccine, as the data Indonesia used for emergency authorization is only preliminary." "Research into the vaccine is not completed yet and will still take some time," he added.
Meanwhile, Chinese health officials have said that some nine million doses of CoronaVac have been administered in China. Bolivia is yet to start vaccinations with the CoronaVac vaccine. Several other countries that were not involved in clinical trials have signed agreements or are in negotiations to secure doses from Sinovac Biotech Ltd., including the Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine, Bolivia, and others.