Indonesian President Joko Widodo received a Chinese-made vaccine on live television on Wednesday as health officials prepared for a nationwide launch.
Human trials in Indonesia found the CoronaVac vaccine to be safe and an effective rate of 65.3 percent, but scientists in Brazil said Tuesday it had a 50 percent higher efficacy rate, well below the 78 percent efficacy rate announced last week.
Mr Joko was the first in Indonesia to get vaccinated, health officials said because he wanted people to be sure it was safe, effective and halal, meaning it was approved under Islamic law.
On the back of him as he was injected there was a red badge with white letters declaring the vaccine “safe and halal”.
“Covid vaccination is essential for us to destroy the transmission chain of the coronavirus and provide health protection for all of us Indonesians and help accelerate the economic recovery,” said Joko. Said after being shot
Indonesia, which allowed the Sinovac vaccine in an emergency, earlier Monday ordered 125.5 million doses from the company and in smaller quantities from many Indonesia, the world’s fourth-largest country with a population of 270. Millions of people hope to have herd immunity by vaccinating two thirds of the population within 15 months.
But there are still questions about the Sinovac vaccine, which China began administering last year before human trials were completed.
The company has not released information publicly about the results of the trial. And the vaccine efficacy rates, as measured in Brazil and Indonesia, are still well below the 90 percent achieved by Pfizer and Modena approved vaccines in the United States and other countries.
Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia, said the relatively low efficacy rate for CoronaVac should prompt Indonesia to look for alternatives. He also questioned the transparency of the experiments and published data.
“Indonesia has at least one vaccine as a means to protect healthcare workers and prevent staff shortages,” he said. “Obviously, the government should do our best to get other vaccines.”
Indonesia plans to give the first vaccine to medical workers, police officers and the military. It has also started a national promotion campaign to persuade members of the public to get the vaccine, which will be given free.
After Mr Joko was vaccinated in front of the camera was the newly appointed Chief of the Army, the Commissioner of the National Police and the Minister of Public Health, along with other prominent figures and influencers known as the National Police Force.
Indonesia has reported nearly 850,000 cases of the coronavirus and nearly 25,000 deaths, which is Southeast Asia’s highest in both categories.