Analyses of Chinese virus vaccine ongoing, says Turkish Health Ministry
The analyses of the COVID-19 vaccines Turkey has bought from China are underway at the country’s laboratories, the Health Ministry has said.
The first batch of 3 million doses of the jab arrived in the capital Ankara in the early hours of Dec. 30, 2020.
“Tests on the vaccines were launched as soon as the day the injections were delivered,” the ministry said in a statement on Jan. 5.
Vaccine samples were forwarded to the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (TİTCK) for analysis.
The tests focus on the quality, efficacy and reliability of the injections.
The analysis of the vaccine, developed by Chinese company Sinovac, will last for at least 14 days, according to the ministry.
“If the injections are proven safe, they will be made available for vaccination after TİTCK’s approval for emergency use,” the ministry added.
Under the agreement with the Chinese company, Turkey will receive a total of 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Turkey also reached a deal with BioNTech for the procurement of a coronavirus vaccine the Germany-based company jointly developed with Pfizer.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late last month that 4.5 million doses of the vaccine would be sent to Turkey by the end of March 2021 under the agreement.
Turkey, on the other hand, is considering joint vaccine production with BioNTech.
The county is planning to roll out a massive inoculation program as soon as the vaccines are ready starting with health care workers and the most vulnerable. Vaccinations will be conducted in four stages.
Last month, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that Ankara and Moscow agreed to organize a joint production of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
The country is also working to develop its own vaccine against the coronavirus.
Vaccinations will not be mandatory, but authorities aim to convince the public about the necessity of vaccination against the coronavirus, making mass vaccination possible.
The tally of infections has exceeded 2.26 million in Turkey, while the outbreak has claimed the lives of nearly 22,000 people, according to data from the Health Ministry.
Koca said in a tweet on Jan. 4 that the number of patients in critical condition continues to drop.
“We must make the gains achieved through restrictions and measures permanent,” he wrote.
The country has been implementing curfews on weeknights and full weekend curfews since Dec. 5 to stem the spread of the virus.