The U.S. National Security Advisor informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia that 4 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. are being shipped to Indonesia as the country is battling recorded coronavirus infections and deaths, forcing Emergency lockdown from Saturday.
A White House statement stated that Jack Sullivan said in a phone call with Retno Marsudi on Friday that these vaccines will be delivered “as soon as possible” through the COVAX Global Vaccine Sharing Program.
Sullivan said the donation “emphasizes the United States’ support for the Indonesian people as they are fighting the surge in COVID-19 cases”.
The statement said that the two officials also discussed plans for the United States to increase assistance for Indonesia’s broader COVID-19 response.
The statement said: “Sullivan emphasized the importance of the Biden-Harris administration to Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and the wider end of the pandemic, and pledged to continue to provide support and high-level contacts.”
The country has recorded a record number of new infections in 8 of the past 12 days, including 25,830 new cases on Friday and a record 539 deaths.
In Jakarta province alone, Governor Anies Baswedan said at a press conference on Friday that the number of active cases has increased from 27,000 in February to 78,000.
Anies said that if this trend continues, the number of active cases could reach 100,000 within a few days.
Since the pandemic last year, Indonesia has reported 2,228,938 cases and 59,534 deaths.
The surge in new cases and deaths prompted President Joko Widodo to announce emergency movement restrictions on Java and Bali starting on Saturday. The blockade is valid until July 20.
Competitive vaccine diplomacy
Penny K Lukito, head of the Indonesian Food and Drug Agency, said earlier on Friday that it has authorized the Moderna vaccine for emergency use.
At the same time, the Minister of Health of the country also announced on Friday that Indonesia is planning to vaccinate children under the age of 18 with the coronavirus mRNA vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the island of Java is home to about half of the country’s more than 270 million people and is where most outbreaks of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant have occurred. This variant was first discovered in India.
“She was healthy and her pregnancy was normal, but suddenly she disappeared.”
As Indonesia’s most populous island of Java responds to the biggest surge in COVID-19, families bid farewell to their loved ones in a temporary cemetery ➡ https://t.co/BzjHgUfJP2 pic.twitter.com/TeNcxTwXZb
-Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 24, 2021
According to a report on the US website NBC Boston, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is considered to be 84% effective after two doses. Even with the Delta variant, it is only 34% effective for one dose.
Moderna also announced on Tuesday that, based on a study of the serum obtained by eight participants one week after receiving the second dose of the vaccine, its vaccine showed promise for the Delta variant.
The company stated that the vaccine is more effective in generating antibodies against the Delta variant than against the Beta variant first discovered in South Africa.
Indonesia mainly relies on vaccines from China Kexing, But has been seeking to diversify supply sources.
Washington has been competing with Beijing to deepen its geopolitical influence through so-called vaccine diplomacy, although it says that sharing vaccines is not for gains or concessions, but to save lives and end the pandemic.
Worried about the difference in vaccination rates between developed and developing countries, the Biden administration pledged last month to share the original 80 million US-made vaccines globally.
It has announced plans to provide vaccines to other Southeast Asian countries-the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.
It also stated that it will purchase 500 million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines and distribute them to the African Union and 92 low- and middle- and low-income countries.