Jakarta. Indonesia’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma began distributing 3 million doses of vaccine against coronavirus to all 34 provinces on Sunday.
The vaccine, developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, has been approved for emergency use by the Drug and Food Control Agency (BPOM).
“We are distributing the vaccine to 34 provinces from today after of course everything has been prepared. Health service facilities across the country have prepared the cold chain network,” government spokesman Bambang Herianto said in a video conference in Jakarta.
The Sinovac vaccine must be kept at between 2 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius.
Bambang said mass vaccination is not new to Indonesia, expressing confidence that the initial distribution process would run smoothly across the country.
“The vaccine’s quality is guaranteed because it’s being distributed at a low temperature until reaching the final destination namely the public health centers,” Bambang said.
In the initial vaccine distribution, the Health Ministry is collaborating with the military, the National Police and the Transportation Ministry, Bambang said.
The government has targeted to vaccinate at least 181 million of the country’s 270 million population, with health workers given the top priority.
The vaccine will be distributed to 13,000 public health centers or Puskesmas, 2,500 hospitals and 49 health offices at seaports across the sprawling archipelago.
Indonesia has recorded a total of 765,350 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak started, with an additional 6,877 cases on Sunday.
The total number of active cases currently stands at 110,679 or 14.5 percent of the overall cases.
The virus has killed 22,734 people in the country, which reported a further 179 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths has topped 200 for the sixth straight day. The daily death toll has been in three-digit territory since Nov. 22, a span of 42 consecutive days.
Central Java has reported the most deaths during the deadliest period of the Indonesian outbreak and now is ranked second with a total of 3,749 Covid deaths.
East Java has recorded the highest death toll, which exceeded 6,000 on Sunday after adding another 50 more deaths.
Jakarta is ranked third with 3,326 deaths, followed by West Java (1,178), East Kalimantan (763), North Sumatra (683) and South Sulawesi (607).
The four provinces in Java also make up the majority of overall cases nationwide.
Jakarta has recorded a staggering 189,243 cases since the outbreak, even bigger than the combined cases from two provinces closest to its total.
The capital city has been averaging 1,902 cases in the past week.
West Java has seen a dramatic surge in newly cases since early December to overtake East Java in the second place. The daily total in the country’s most populous province has topped 1,000 in the last six days, bringing its total to 87,482.
East Java has recorded 599 new cases in the 24-hour period, its lowest daily number since Dec. 8, to take its total to 86,361.
Coronavirus cases are rising fast in East Java, which averaged 718 in December in comparison to an average of 314 a month earlier.
Central Java has been outpacing East Java since November, recording a total of 84,512 cases as of Sunday to cut the gap further.
South Sulawesi set a new all-time high of 595 cases to bring its total to 32,782, the biggest number outside Java. That means all the top five worst-affected provinces are experiencing an ongoing surge in newly cases.
The virus is also spreading faster in Banten and Yogyakarta, two remaining provinces in the most-crowded island of Java, and in East Kalimantan and Bali.
Banten is now ranked ninth among provinces with the most cases while Yogyakarta saw its total number of cases more than double in just a month.
The surge is slowing in Sumatra Island, including in Riau and North and West Sumatra, which currently are inside the top ten.