Over the past few months, the Covid-19 crisis in Indonesia has escalated, with daily case numbers and deaths from the virus hitting record levels week after week. Without strict lockdowns, government efforts to encourage the public to comply with social distancing and masking advice has not been effective in controlling the spread of the disease.
On 13 January, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo received the first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine, manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac, after interim data from phase III trials in late 2020 found the vaccine to be 65.3% effective. The vaccine trials and rollout across the world has been shrouded in some controversy, and the vaccine’s reception in Indonesia has been mixed. As the government embarks on one of the largest vaccination programs in its history, what are the challenges? Is it taking the right approach, and will the vaccine do its job and arrest the pandemic in Indonesia?
To explore these questions and more, Dr Jemma Purdey chats to Dr Ines Atmosukarto, a molecular biologist from the John Curtin School of Media Research at the ANU’s College of Health and Medicine. Ines is CEO of Lipotek Pty Ltd which develops vaccines and cancer treatments, and was previously project leader at the Research Centre for Biotechnology at the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI).
In 2021, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jemma Purdey from the Australia-Indonesia Centre, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Annisa Beta from the University of Melbourne’s School of Culture and Communication, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University.