Indonesia recommends Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12-17

Indonesia has been using Sinovac as the main plank in its vaccination programme.
Indonesia has been using Sinovac as the main plank in its vaccination programme.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's food and drug agency (BPOM) has recommended the coronavirus vaccine made by China's Sinovac Biotech for children aged 12 to 17, the country's Covid-19 task force said on Monday (June 28), as the country seeks to extend inoculations amid a surge in infections.

Indonesia has reported record daily new cases of more than 20,000 recently after the emergence of virus variants, and travel after the Muslim fasting month has helped drive a new wave of infections.

Task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito welcomed the food and drug agency's recommendation and said "the government invites the people to still wait for the issuance of emergency use approval from BPOM".

Ms Penny K. Lukito, head of BPOM, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the timing of such a ruling.

Indonesia has been using Sinovac as the main plank in its vaccination programme after receiving about 94 million doses, while it has received about 10 million made by AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.

Task force data shows children aged zero to 18 account for 12.6 per cent of Indonesia's total Covid-19 infections.

The World Health Organisation approved emergency use of Sinovac's vaccine this month, saying results showed it prevented symptomatic disease in 51 per cent of recipients and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospital stays.

The South-east Asian country is under pressure to speed up vaccinations, with hospitals in several designated "red zones" reporting overcapacity and 93 per cent of isolation beds in Jakarta occupied as at Sunday.

Indonesia reported that it had given 1.3 million vaccine shots last Saturday, the highest daily count since the programme began in January. About 13.18 million people have received both shots as at Monday, government data showed.