JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially disclosed the reason behind Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and State Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir’s marathon diplomacy to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine for Indonesia.
The Ministry’s Director General for Multilateral Cooperation Febrian Alphyanto Ruddyard said their efforts to get the vaccine has much to do with the item’s finite nature.
“The World Health Organization [WHO] can only set aside a vaccine for 20 percent of Indonesia’s population,” Febrian said in a virtual press conference on October 16.
“It is also in line with their principle of ‘not providing vaccines for all people in some countries, but to provide vaccines for some people in all countries’. They are also aware that [global] production of vaccines cannot keep up with rising demand [around the world].”
Febrian added that diplomacy, both bilateral and multilateral, is the most viable solution to ensure a supply of vaccines.
“Retno and Erick visited China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, as they recognized that bilateral diplomacy [with these and other countries] can help [Indonesia] avoid a shortfall of vaccine stocks,” he said.
“Indonesia’s good relations with these and other countries greatly assist our efforts to procure scarce vaccines, before other countries can beat us to get them.”
Indonesia has inked MOUs with China, the UAE and the United Kingdom to ensure supplies for a Covid-19 vaccine.
Under the deals, state-owned Indonesian pharmaceutical company Bio Farma would carry out technology transfers and other forms of collaboration with their counterparts like the Chinese-based Sinovac, G42 from the UAE, and the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca company.
All the companies in question are at the third and final stages in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. The Sinovac company took bilateral cooperation a step further as they also carried out clinical tests in the Indonesian city of Bandung.
(Writer: Rakhmat Nur Hakim | Editor: Diamanty Meiliana)
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