Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Prof. Muhajir Effendy on February 9, 2022 told the audience during the first and second Merah Putih vaccine clinical trial ceremony at Dr. Sutomo Hospital Surabaya – that Indonesian President Joko Widodo encouraged national researchers to make national own vaccines for the independency of the nation; therefore President gave full support to Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) to research and produce the said national vaccines.
UNAIR since the beginning of coronavirus pandemic has deployed scientists and researchers to find a solution to stop the pandemic by making vaccine, and for this purpose UNAIR conducted a Collaborative Research with Dr. Sutomo Hospital Surabaya – the largest hospital in Indonesia and PT. Biotis Pharmaceutical Indonesia have succeeded in making a vaccine named Merah Putih. The term Red and White refers to the two colors of Indonesian national flag and also refers to symbol of nationalism Coordinating Minister Effendy explained that the red and white name was a temporary name and later asked President Joko Widodo to give another name.
Indonesian Health Minister Ir. Budi Gunadi Sadikin who participated in the event explained that the Ministry of Health provides full support UNAIR’s efforts from the beginning and has allocated the necessary budget for the research and production of the vaccine. The minister said that the vaccine made by UNAIR will be used for booster vaccine and for children aged 3-6 years old.
Importantly, the two ministers said that President Joko Widodo plans to announce in front of G20 heads of state at a meeting in Bali in November 2022 that Indonesia has succeeded in making its own vaccine. This vaccine in addition to domestic use will also be donated to other countries such as in Africa that are currently in dire need of vaccines to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. President Joko Widodo this year acts as President of the countries that are members of G20.
Yahya Zaini, a national lawmaker who is also an alumnus of UNAIR gives high appreciation for the success of UNAIR producing vaccines because this makes Indonesia avoid vaccine dependency from abroad. Minister Effendy quoted President Widodo as saying that the Red and White vaccine illustrates the nation’s independency and Indonesia’s role in helping other countries on the international scene.
Rector of Universitas Airlangga Professor Mohammad Nasih who attended the event with East Java Governor once told media crew recently explained that the Red and White vaccine initiated by UNAIR not only as an effort to fulfill its obligation to implement “Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi” (Three Pillars of Indonesian Higher Education comprising Education, Research and Community Service), but more than that UNAIR wants to be part of country’ stakeholders in upholding the sovereignty of the nation.