Indonesia clears 7th vaccine for use to bolster virus fight

Virus-ravaged country approves Russia’s Sputnik V as infections count tops 4M

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – Grappling with a surging virus wave, Indonesia on Wednesday took another step to boost vaccinations, granting emergency use approval for another vaccine – Russia’s Sputnik V.

This is the seventh COVID-19 jab cleared for use in Indonesia, which has so far fully vaccinated just over 32.6 million people – a little under 16% of the vaccination target of 208.26 million.

The overall number of vaccine doses administered in the country currently stands at 91.1 million, according to latest figures.

Indonesia’s Food and Drug Supervisory Agency said the vaccine can be given to people aged 18 years and above in two doses within a three-week period.

“Data from the third phase of clinical trials shows that the Sputnik V vaccine provides 91.6% efficacy,” the agency’s head Penny Lukito said during a meeting with parliamentarians.

He said the vaccine had mild to moderate side effects during trials, including flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, joint pain, muscle pain, weakness, discomfort, headache, and hyperthermia.

Indonesia’s virus caseload has now crossed 4 million, doubling within a span of just two months due to the rapid spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.

A total of 19,106 infections were recorded over the past day, raising the cumulative count to 4,008,166, the Health Ministry said in a daily report.

The daily death toll was an alarming 1,038 in the past 24 hours, pushing the fatality count to 128,252.

However, earlier this week, President Joko Widodo announced that restrictions in the Greater Jakarta region and in areas on the island of Java would be revised down from Level 4 to Level 3.

The reason for the decision, he said, was that the number of daily infections had declined by 78% from the peak of around 55,000 seen in mid-July.

Low inflation ‘not good news’

Widodo on Wednesday voiced concern over plunging inflation in Indonesia, saying the low rate was “not good news.”

“This situation indicates a decline in people’s purchasing power due to restrictions on activities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said at the 2021 National Coordination Meeting for Inflation Control.

The president said he was “not happy” about the low inflation figure.

His remarks came after Central Bank data showed that the annual inflation rate in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy was 1.52% in July.


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