Indonesia approves clinical trial for locally-developed COVID-19 vaccine hinh anh 1A woman in Yogyakarta, Indonesia gets vaccinated against COVID-19 on February 4, 2022 (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) - The National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) of Indonesia has issued clinical trial protocol permit for the Merah Putih COVID-19 vaccine produced domestically by Airlangga University and a private pharmaceutical firm.

Addressing an online press conference on February 7, Director of BPOM Penny K. Lukito said her agency had evaluated data on this vaccine's safety and immunogenicity on mice and monkey.

The study result indicates that the vaccine is safe and tolerable, and it does not cause death as well as organ abnormality in the tested animals, she said, adding that an immune response indicates antibody formation after the administration.

Indonesia is  accelerating its vaccination drive and encouraging the use of telemedicine service to repel the third wave of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant.

According to Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is also in charge of COVID-19 prevention and control, the government pushes for expediting vaccination, especially the second dose for the elderly and other vulnerable groups, and providing sufficient booster shots for all Indonesians.

Health service facilities at hospitals have been also increased in order to serve treatment of COVID-19 patients, he added.

In the Philippines, vaccination centres have organised performances with the participation of Ironman, Captain America, puppeteers and performers on stilts to encourage children to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  

In the capital city of Manila, after receiving their shots, children aged between 5- 11 are presented with swords and models made from balloons, or be taken photos with disguised superheroes.

So far, about half of the 110-million population in the Philippines have been vaccinated, but many areas outside urban centres are still lagging far behind.

The Southeast Asian nation has so far recorded 3.6 million COVID-19 infections, including 54,000 fatalities.

It is working hard to prevent the 4th wave of COVID-19 in the context that the number of new infections in a row peaked this month due to people moving a lot, non-serious observance of pandemic prevention measures in community, and the rapid spread of Omicron and Delta variants./.