Indonesia has sent a team to China to check the production and quality of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, an official confirmed on Friday.
The team will carry out inspections at the three companies – Sinovac, Sinopharm, and CanSino – that have committed to supply COVID-19 vaccines to Indonesia.
The delegation includes officials from the Food and Drug Administration (BPOM), Health Ministry, and the Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics of the Indonesian Ulema Council (LPPOM MUI).
The officials left for China on Thursday, according to Penny Lukito, head of the BPOM.
“These inspections aim to accelerate access to vaccines that are safe, effective, and of good quality,” he said in a statement on Friday.
Indonesia is struggling to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with its overall count now up to 353,461, including 12,347 fatalities and 277,544 recoveries.
As part of ramped up efforts to secure access to COVID-19 vaccines, a minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, also visited China last week.
CanSino has said it will provide 100,000 single-dose vaccines by November this year, with 15 million to 20 million more in 2021.
Sinopharm will make 15 million doses of its dual-dose vaccine this year, and five million doses will begin to arrive in Indonesia by next month.
Sinopharm is aiming to make 50 million more doses for Indonesia next year.
The third firm, Sinovac, has committed to making three million doses by the end of December 2020.
A total of 1.5 million doses of vaccine will be sent to Indonesia in the first week of November, followed by another 1.5 million in the first week of December, along with 15 million doses of vaccine in bulk concentrate form.
Sinovac will also provide 125 million doses to Indonesia next year.
However, vaccines made by all three companies are still in Phase III of clinical trials in various countries.
Indonesia itself has been involved in the clinical trial of the Sinovac vaccine candidate, being held in Bandung, West Java, since Aug. 11.
Penny, the BPOM chief, said there have been no reports of serious side effects in any of the volunteers.
Due to the pandemic, the BPOM has authorized the emergency use of vaccine candidates that are still under the development stage.
The official stressed that COVID-19 drugs and vaccines cleared for emergency use will be monitored closely for safety, efficacy, and quality.
* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita in JakartaAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.