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Govt Reveals Strategy as AstraZeneca Vaccines Will Soon Expire

17 March 2021 13:22 WIB

A Bio Farma employee is seen inspecting an "envirotainer" containing AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival at Bio Farma, Bandung, West Java, Monday, March 8, 2021. A total of 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are part of the first batch of the global cooperation scheme for vaccines. and immunization (GAVI) COVAX Facility arrives at Bio Farma which will then be processed and distributed in order to accelerate the vaccination target that is evenly distributed throughout the Indonesian population. ANTARA PHOTOS / Novrian Arbi

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Indonesia on early March 8 will reportedly expire in May. The Indonesian Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has not issued an emergency use authorization for this batch of vaccines. 

The main issue lies in the interval between vaccine shots that differ from other types of vaccines which is 9-12 weeks since the first vaccine shot. This time duration between shots will have to race with the expiration date. 

Covid-19 vaccination Health Ministry’s spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi said the government must obtain the recommendation from the BPOM before it can be used. 

“We all know that the BPOM does not only issue permits for emergency use but also oversees the indications and the most optimum time interval to obtain the best immunogenicity,” said Nadia in a written statement on March 17.

If the BPOM eventually recommends the vaccine and abides by the time constraints then the 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines can only be used for first doses shots and use a new batch of the same vaccines for the second vaccination shots. 

“The entire vaccine that arrived on March 8 wil be used for the first dose of vaccinations,” she said. 

The Health Ministry has officially temporarily stopped the distribution of AstraZeneca vaccines before it is studied further by the BPOM, Indonesian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ITAGI), and a number of experts. 

Read: 3 EU Countries Suspend AstraZeneca Covid-19 Shots

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