Indonesia is collaborating with UNICEF to ensure access to a coronavirus vaccine once it is available. 

The commitment was marked with the signing of an MoU between the Ministry of Health and the UN agency in the capital Jakarta on Wednesday.

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said Indonesia will get access to the vaccine through the COVAX Facility mechanism, a global initiative led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO).

It aims to accelerate vaccine development, and ensure it is available worldwide. Around 180 vaccines to combat the disease are in development worldwide, according to the WHO.

“This will ensure that every country, including Indonesia, has safe, fast and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine,” Terawan said.

Debora Comini, a UNICEF representative in Indonesia, said UNICEF has an important role in the cooperation scheme — its supply division has the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world, which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“To ensure access for participating countries, this cooperation also provides opportunities for vaccine produced by Indonesia,” he added.

The Southeast Asian nation is also developing a COVID-19 vaccine — Merah Putih — representing the country’s red and white flag. It is projected to be ready by mid-2021.

It will also receive financial assistance through the Official Development Assistant (ODA) mechanism.

“We will intensify communication with Gavi and COVAX regarding the price and availability. Through the ODA financial assistance, we hope the price of vaccines will be cheaper,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

So far, Indonesia has recorded 225,030 cases of the novel coronavirus. As many as 161,065 patients have recovered, while nearly 9,000 died.

*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta

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