Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Crates containing Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccines are unloaded from a Chinese Airforce plane upon arriving at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on February 28, 2021 in Manila, Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte witnessed the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech vaccines donated by the Chinese government.Credit: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images Everything about Indonesia’s first Covid-19 inoculation was choreographed for the cameras. Sitting in front of flowers and a red sign that read “Vaccine: Safe and Halal,” Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, slowly rolled up his white shirt sleeve as the medical professional next to him held up a small box to the assembled audience. The box, which contained the president’s vaccine dose, was embossed with a single, Chinese brand: Sinovac. It was January, and with Indonesia’s Covid cases surging to a high of over 14,000 new cases a day, the country became the first — other than China itself — to approve Sinovac, one of the three Chinese vaccines in use. At the time, little was known about the efficacy of the drug. There was no peer-reviewed data available, and the only thing to go off of were preliminary trial numbers from Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia itself, which showed the drug to be highly effective. Widodo knew he was taking a risk, but with no end Subscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.