Indonesia, as the world’s fourth most populous nation, has received 1.2 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine was made by China’s Sinovac.
Officials said that the doses arrived in Jakarta late Sunday on a flight from Beijing, with another 1.8 million expected to be sent again next month.
Although Chinese regulators have yet to clear any of the country’s vaccines for mass distribution, they have approved some advanced candidates for emergency use.
Indonesia’s Covid-19 response team chief Airlangga Hartarto said the first batch of doses will be examined by the food and drug agency, with plans to distribute them to medical workers and other high-risk groups.
The country’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), will also check the first consignment to ensure it meets halal requirements in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
In August, Indonesia launched human trials of the Sinovac-made jab, with around 1,600 volunteers taking part in the six-month study.
The Indonesian government has paid some IDR 637 billion ($45 million) for the three million Sinovac doses. Another 100,000 more are set to be delivered by another Chinese firm, Cancino.
Indonesia is the country that is one of the Asian nations worst hit by the pandemic, with Covid-19 infections topping 575,000, and more than 17,000 deaths.
However, the true scale of the crisis is widely believed to be much bigger, as the country has one of the world’s lowest testing rates.