Indonesia has received its first batch of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. A Garuda Indonesia flight carrying 1.2 million doses of a potential vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac landed in Soekarno-Hatta Airport last night.
The cargo was transported and stored at a warehouse in Bandung, West Java.
According to a press release received by Coconuts, the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) will soon test samples of the vaccine candidate as an important step towards regulatory approval.
The agency previously said it may issue regulatory approval for a vaccine candidate by January 2021.
President Joko Widodo confirmed the arrival of the vaccine candidate after photos circulated last night, promising that there’s more to come very soon.
“We are working towards having 1.8 million doses shipped in January 2021,” Jokowi said in a televised address.
In addition, Indonesia is expected to receive in December raw materials to produce 15 million doses of the vaccine, and more in January to produce 30 million more doses.
Sinovac, in collaboration with state pharma Bio Farma, is currently holding advanced clinical trials of the vaccine candidate on some 1,600 participants, to reported positive outcomes thus far, in Bandung.
The government has previously said that it has secured 290 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine candidate, which will be gradually delivered until the end of 2021.
Indonesia has ordered vaccine candidates from five other pharmaceutical firms, including from Pfizer and Moderna, both of which, like Sinovac, have shown positive results from advanced clinical trials.
The arrival of Sinovac’s vaccine candidate spurred the Indonesian Composite Index (IHSG) to open to an 0.75 percent increase this morning to 5,854.3 points, with an upward trend looking likely.
Online, hashtags like #IndonesiaBebasCovid (Indonesia free from COVID-19) and #VaksinDatangTetapJaga3M (Vaccine is here but obey health protocols) are trending on social media, with many expressing newfound hope after nine months of the pandemic after the arrival of Sinovac’s vaccine candidate.