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Indonesia 'cannot accept' delays of 100 million AstraZeneca jabs: health minister

Indonesia's ambitious Covid vaccine plans rely heavily on the AstraZeneca jab [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2021

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Indonesia has an ambitious coronavirus vaccine programme. However, this looks threatened after Jakarta said 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have 'an uncertain arrival schedule.'
Indonesia warned on Thursday it faced delays receiving over 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, as export restrictions in India and company supply holdups threaten one of the world's biggest jab rollouts.

The Southeast Asian nation's health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin slammed the slowdown and said the government was trying to find a solution.

"We have about 100 million vaccine doses with an uncertain arrival schedule," he told parliament. 

"This is not something we can accept. We immediately communicated with AstraZeneca."

The world's fourth-biggest nation is one of the hardest hit in Asia, with more than 1.5 million virus cases and over 42,000 deaths. 

Jakarta has announced an ambitious plan to jab more than 181 million of its nearly 270 million people within a year, relying heavily on China's Sinovac jab and AstraZeneca's treatment.

Indonesia had been on track to receive some 54 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine through the Covax global vaccine sharing programme.

It is also expecting another 50 million doses in direct deals with the UK-based pharma giant and state-owned Biofarma.

But Indonesia has received just one million AstraZeneca doses so far with another 10 million that were set for delivery in March and April delayed due to India restricting vaccine exports, Sadikin said.

Many countries are relying on the Serum Institute of India for supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the government put the brakes on allowing it to export the shots to battle a surge in cases at home.

AstraZeneca has also told Indonesia that previous plans to ship 50 million doses to the country this year would be delayed, with 20 million now set to arrive in 2021 and another 30 million next year, the health minister said.

Indonesia may try to boost shipments from China to plug the gap, the ministry said.

AstraZeneca did not immediately comment.

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