Indonesia said it is working on ways to ensure that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine it plans to disseminate to citizens in the future would be halal, The Jakarta Post reported.
In a virtual meeting, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that the government plans to secure 320 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, explaining that they are working with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) on making sure it would receive halal certification.
“[We have discussed it] with MUI and Inshallah [God Willing] the vaccine will be halal,” he said. This came after concerns expressed by many on the statement of Vice President and senior Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin that the vaccine currently being developed by the government did not have to be halal.
In a report by Tempo.co, the COVID-19 Vaccine Inspection Team—composed of Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), the Health Ministry, MUI and representatives of state-owned PT Bio Farma—flew to China to inspect the quality and halal status of the vaccine candidates developed by Sinovac Biotech and CanSino Biologics.
“The halal status of the Sinovac and Cansino [potential] vaccines will be guaranteed through MUI participating in the data research process,” Bio Farma president director Honesti Basyir said.
Earlier, President Joko Widodo signed Presidential Regulation No. 99/2020 on vaccine procurement. Currently, the Indonesian government has vaccines being developed by Sinovac in partnership with Bio Farma, as well as discussed vaccine procurement with other pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.