Politics, Law, Security

Locally Produced COVID Vaccine May Soon Be Operational

Indonesia has almost finished the last round of clinical trials for the two long-awaited locally produced COVID-19 vaccines. But the future remains unclear whether the public could use them for much-needed booster doses with the government slashing the national economic recovery (PEN) budget for the pandemic response next year and possibly cutting the funding for further research. A research team from Airlangga University in East Java, in cooperation with local firm Biotis Pharmaceuticals Indonesia, has recently finished injecting some 4,000 volunteers aged 18 and above with the second dose of the homegrown vaccine candidate, as part of the third stage of clinical trials. The vaccine is named Merah Putih – after the color of Indonesia’s red-and-white flag. Despite the Merah Putih vaccine being designated for primary vaccination in adults, Dominicus said the Health Ministry had requested it to be mainly used as boosters for adults – and as primary and booster doses for children. This is because the entire adult population is projected to be already fully vaccinated by the time the vaccine is ready to be mass-produced. (Jakarta Post)

First Monkey Pox Case

Indonesia announced its first confirmed monkeypox infection, detected in an Indonesian national who had traveled to Europe, which has confirmed cases of this illness, from late July to early August. According to the Health Ministry, the patient, a 27-year-old male, began showing symptoms on Aug. 11. He visited a health facility in Jakarta on Thursday, where he was tested for monkeypox. He was confirmed positive for monkeypox late on Friday and showed mild symptoms, including a fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. The ministry reported that he has since been self-isolating at home.

Prabowo 3.0

Prabowo Subianto, officially accepted his party’s nomination for President. It will be his third bite at the apple. Currently Defense Minister and chairman of the Gerindra Party, Prabowo said he decided to run again to fight for his people, nation, and to always “stand up again with optimism” as a warrior. He lost bids as Vice President in 2009 and as President in 2014 and 2019. The next Presidential election will be held in 2024.

State of the Union

In his annual State of the Nation address on Tuesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo underlined the country’s achievement in tackling the health crisis and inflation amid the Russo-Ukraine war and the pandemic, while stressing the need for Indonesia to carry on with its domestic agenda. The President delivered his speech before the country’s executive, legislative and judicial branches at the House of Representatives complex on Tuesday, marking the third year that Jokowi has delivered the annual address under the shadow of COVID-19. In his 30-minute speech, delivered to a mostly maskless audience, the President extended gratitude that the country had proven itself to be a resilient nation, overcoming both the health and economic crises in the midst of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. “Indonesia is one of the nations that has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of five countries with the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 432 million vaccine doses injected,” Jokowi said. “Our inflation rate is under control, in the range of 4.9 percent. That number is significantly lower than the average inflation rate in the ASEAN countries, at around 7 percent, and is significantly lower than the average inflation rate in the developed countries, around 9 percent.” He also hailed Indonesia’s growing stature on the global stage, citing Indonesia’s Group of 20 presidency this year, its ASEAN chairmanship next year and his visit to Kyiv and Moscow in June as part of diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine and ease the global food crisis. “It indicates that we top the global leadership and have a great opportunity to promote international cooperation. Great trust from the international community can be felt in our country,” Jokowi said.

He said all these achievements served as an asset to further move toward a more “advanced Indonesia”. “I reiterate that the nation’s grand agenda must not stop. Great efforts must continue to be made,” Jokowi said. “With such great capital and opportunities, we have a big chance to develop an inclusive, fair, and sustainable Indonesia.” He pointed out five main agenda items of his administration, including corruption eradication and efforts to solve past human rights violations; green energy development; and the construction of the country’s new capital of Nusantara. (from Jakarta Post reporting)