TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Head of the national COVID-19 vaccine development acceleration team, Bambang Brodjonegoro, on Wednesday said the Merah Putih vaccine consortium has moved to expand to private pharmaceutical firms into producing vaccines. Apart from the state-run Bio Farma, Bambang said there are other alternatives that have emerged.
“So far, there are three potential firms, but surely they must obtain a permit from the BPOM in terms of producing vaccines well and preparing a line of products for this COVID-19 vaccine,” said Bambang after he directly reported to President Jokowi at the Bogor Presidential Palace on Wednesday, September 9.
Bio Farma itself plans to produce 250 million doses annually starting in 2021. Bambang hopes that the arrival of private firms in the production will help the planned vaccination stage as Indonesia is predicted to need at least 540 million doses to cover the country’s entire population.
“We are hoping for Indonesia to be independent in providing and developing the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Bambang. “This needs a large production capacity and that is why we urge BioFarma to expand by inviting other private firms to support [the COVID-19 vaccine production].”
The home-grown Merah Putih vaccine will go parallel with the development of the Sinovac vaccine from China and the G42 candidate vaccine from the UAE.