Indonesia inks deal with China on virus vaccine supply from November

Aug 21 , 2020. 3 hours ago – 06:55 | KYODO NEWS

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (1st from left) and Erick Thohir, chief of the Committee for COVID-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery, pose in a photo with CEOs of Chinese drug-maker Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Indonesian pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma after witnessing the signing of memorandum of understanding between the two companies to develop COVID-19 vaccine in Sanya, China on Aug. 20, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi) (Kyodo)

JAKARTA – Indonesia and China agreed Thursday that a Chinese pharmaceutical company working with a state-owned Indonesian drugmaker will send up to 40 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine to the Southeast Asian county starting in November.

The agreement was announced by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in a virtual press conference after a meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

“A commitment was agreed on the supply of vaccine bulk up to 40 million doses from November 2020 to March 2021,” Retno told reporters, saying the agreement was signed between Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Indonesia’s PT Bio Farma.

Since last week, Indonesia has been conducting the final, phase 3 clinical testing for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.

The trial is taking place with the cooperation of Sinovac, which developed the vaccine candidate, with support from Bio Pharma and a team of Indonesian scientists and researchers.

Once clinical testing is completed, massive vaccine production will begin immediately and is expected to reach a level of 250 million doses annually, paving the way to offering immunity to the public.

During a visit to China, Retno and Erick Thohir, chief of the Committee for COVID-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery, also met with officials of other Chinese pharmaceutical companies, including Sinopharm Group Ltd. and CanSino Biologics Inc. to discuss possible cooperation in developing vaccines.

Retno said Indonesia is also in talks with other stakeholders outside China in efforts to get enough vaccine for the country’s 270 million people amid tough competition for supplies.

As of Thursday noon, Indonesia reported 2,266 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 147,211 with 6,418 fatalities.