Indonesian President Joko Widodo received his first shot of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, Sinovac, on Wednesday, marking the launch of the country’s mass immunisation programme, reports said.
“I have received the Sinovac vaccine injection. BPOM evaluation, the efficacy is 65.3 per cent, above the WHO standard of 50 per cent,” Widodo tweeted.
Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) chief Penny Lukito announced on Monday that the Sinovac vaccine was 65.3 per cent effective.
He made the announcement during late phase clinical trials conducted in Indonesia, reported Sputnik.
The Muslim-majority nation’s top religious body also approved the vaccine as halal, meaning permissible under Islam, a move that could help convince wary citizens.
“Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) also declared the Sinovac vaccine halal,” tweeted Widodo.
Previous vaccination drives have met resistance in the world’s fourth-largest populous country.
After the clearance from MUI, the Indonesian President “ordered that the COVID-19 vaccination be carried out immediately throughout the country”.
According to Sputnik, live footage of the vaccination was broadcast on Indonesian television channels.
Earlier, BPOM granted Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19 for emergency use approval on Monday.
The Indonesian government has 125 million doses of the Chinese-developed vaccine on order and 3 million doses have been delivered so far.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 846,000 cases of COVID-19 have been registered by public health officials in Indonesia.
That includes the 10,047 new positive tests added to the case total on Tuesday.