China Tries To Fix Their Problems with Vaccines, is Indonesian Ready?

By M Habib Pashya

In Indonesia, China doesn’t grow with politics, culture, and economy alone, however, with health – social including vaccines. Due to, Covid-19 spreaded, China produces a vaccines for global order, Indonesia. Under President of China, Xi Jinping, he emphasizes if those vaccines are public goods. In the World Health Assembly at virtual gathering based on Politico May 18, 2020, Xi said, “COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good […] this will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.”

China can handled Covid-19 spreaded earlier than the United States. Former President of the United States regarded Covid-19 like a flu. So, he saw it like a joke. China took its special moment to make the global order believe their existation. China vaccine diplomacy works and impacts to Indonesia.

 

China has bad image

That reasons, came up due to several countries rejected China vaccine for the sake of their people. In addition, according to The Straits Times on January,18 2021, Sinovac indicated that the prevalence of medical workers in its Brazil trial was why the efficacy rate was so low. An experimental shot must be at least 50 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 to be approved for general use, a threshold widely held by major drug regulators around the world and the World Health Organisation. Camboja is one of those countries who rejected China’s low effective vaccine. Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen said, “Cambodia is not a trash can and not a place for vaccine trials”.

Rejection from global order, raises up in Indonesia society. Accepting China’s vaccine, appears a polemic or trouble. Historically, China raised in Indonesia with Uighur issues. When Muslim people demonstated, said if Indonesia goverment should take a step to China. But, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko, “Every country has the sovereign right to manage its own citizens, so the Indonesian government will not meddle in the internal affairs of China.” In addition, Indonesia government over 500 China foreign workers during Covid-19 number increases in Indonesia. Because of that, when the government offered a vaccine from China, Indonesian do not see the government as a solution.

Indonesia government never looked as a problem.

But, it still impacts to Indonesia ‘s elite.

Sinovac, China’s firm developed their vaccines in Indonesia though collaborating with BioFarma, Sinovac – Biotech Covid-19 vaccines. As a result, Indonesia has spent Rp 637.3 billion (US$45 million) to procure a coronavirus vaccine from China as the government prepares for a mass vaccination program. The Finance Minister of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani Indrawati said,” The vaccine procurement will take years to complete, from 2020 to 2021 and 2022.” This fact makes another main actor in Indonesia optimize if Indonesia will reduce Covid-19 numbers with that program. Going through, Head of BPOM Indonesia, Penny K. Lukito said, “Let’s support the COVID-19 vaccination program, because the success of COVID-19 handling belongs to us as a nation,”

Besides, in early 2021, Indonesia had a largest number for Covid-19 in Southeast Asia, over 1 million cases. Then, China is the one of country who can recover its domestic economy rather than the United States. These reasons can be a several main actors thought about China’s vaccine. Proved, Indonesian President, Joko Widodo would be the first person who got a vaccine from China on January 13, 2021. Second step, Jokowi got on January 27, 2021 based on the Jakarta Globe. From his perspective, China’s vaccine is safe and there’s no trouble with that. Jokowi said,”It doesn’t hurt at all.”

But, in global order, when the US came out from WHO, Indonesia must choose China as a solution because they already handled Covid-19 domestically. China wants to make Indonesia a pivot of vaccines in Southeast Asia.

It’s a public diplomacy cause for the public but Indonesian refuse it.

China vaccines already have stock in Indonesia. In fact, Indonesia government rules the people take the vaccines as necessary. Covid-19 vaccines provided in President Regulations or Peraturan Presiden (14) in 2021 about Vaccination as preventing the spread of Covid-19 disease. In addition, the regulation said if the people refused the vaccination, they will have a administratif sanction.

Seeing with news spreaded, Indonesian aren’t ready about China’s vaccines. Moreover, Ribka Tjiptaning, PDIP member regarded China’ vaccines said, “Saya tetap tidak mau divaksin. Mau vaksin yang umur 63 tahun ke atas, mau vaksin buat semua umur, saya tidak mau […] Mendingan gue bayar. Jual mobil nggak apa-apa.” She emphasized if vaccination can not impose to society, indeed.

In sum, several people in Indonesia refuse what the government said about vaccines. They prefer to stay at home and wearing mask than using China’s vaccine, who never know if it’s effective or not.

 

References :

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-19/Chinese-vaccines-will-be-made-global-public-good-says-Xi-QCpFSGlL2g/index.html

https://kemlu.go.id/chicago/en/news/10689/president-jokowi-receives-the-first-covid-19-vaccine

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210113225305-32-593434/tolak-vaksin-corona-ribka-tjiptaning-mengaku-ditegur-pdip

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinas-sinovac-explains-efficacy-of-covid-19-vaccine-after-confusing-data

The Author :

I’m M Habib Pashya as International Relations student in Universitas Islam Indonesia. Besides as a student in academic while I’m a Research Assistant in my college and Research Assistant in Universitas Gajah Mada, Yogyakarta. Regarding what I wrote in my article about China, I already wrote a book entitled ‘Indonesia-China economic and political relations’.