JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is among potential partners the Indonesian government wants to work with in producing a Covid-19 vaccine.
“Among those that [the government] will form partnerships in manufacturing a Covid-19 vaccine with are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” State Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir told the House’s Commission IX on Health Care and Manpower on August 27.
“If we manage to form a partnership with [the foundation], they will be one of a number of parties from the private sector we are looking to work with, such as Astra Zeneca in Europe.”
Erick, who is also the chairman of the National Economic and Covid-19 Recovery Committee, added that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is already working with a number of American companies to produce a vaccine.
However, Erick emphasized that the partnerships are still options. “The government is still prioritizing the development of a homegrown vaccine. If we can do this, we will not be dependent on other countries.”
“Previous experience has shown that we are able to manufacture our own vaccines. But since [Covid-19] is an entirely new pandemic, we still need time to find the technological resources to develop the vaccine.”
Erick added that the government is considering two alternatives for the Covid-19 vaccine. “The first option is the free public inoculation of the [Covid-19] vaccine. Funds for this will be from the government’s budget and the National Health Insurance [BPJS] data.”
“The second option is to make more affluent members of the public pay for the vaccine, so as to ease the burden on a government budget. Those registered under the BPJS system are entitled to be vaccinated for free.”
To date, Indonesian state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and Kimia Farma are exploring international cooperation in developing a Covid-19 vaccine with China and the United Arab Emirates, respectively.
The former is collaborating with their Chinese counterpart Sinovac to develop a vaccine, while the latter is doing the same with the UAE’s G42 Healthcare Holdings company. Indonesian authorities hope the vaccine will be available by 2021.
(Writer: Akhdi Martin Pratama | Editors: Yoga Sukmana, Sakina Rakhma Diah Setiawan)
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