Sinovac’s Vaccine Approved by Indonesia for Emergency Use

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Indonesia approved China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shots for emergency use, paving the way for Southeast Asia’s largest economy to start its inoculation program.

The Sinovac vaccine was found to be about 65% effective against Covid-19 in late stage-trials in the city of Bandung, Penny Lukito, head of the food and drug regulator, said in a press briefing Monday. The regulator also considered data from clinical trials in Brazil and Turkey in making the decision, she said.

The vaccine is “largely safe,” Lukito said. “It brings hope of reducing the Covid cases.”

The emergency use authorization is the first for Sinovac’s vaccine outside of China. In Brazil, late stage-trials showed an efficacy rate of 78%. The vaccine was effective in preventing mild cases of the virus and 100% effective against severe and moderate infections, according to the Brazil government.

Indonesia is struggling to rein in the worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, with its positivity rate exceeding 31% on Monday in a sign of insufficient testing. The World Health Organization recommends keeping the rate below 5%.

President Joko Widodo is set to receive the first shot on Jan. 13, along with social media influencers and religious leaders. Indonesia needs to boost confidence in the vaccine among its 270 million population to curb the outbreak that has so far infected over 830,000 people.

Indonesia’s Ulema Council has declared the Covid-19 vaccines to be halal and clean, and can be used by Muslims in line with guidelines from relevant authorities. Sinovac has shipped 3 million doses to the country, which plans to inoculate 181.5 million people by March 2022.

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