Chinese vaccine to be tested on more Turkish volunteers
Some 1,237 doses of the jab have already been administered to 726 health workers in the third phase of human trials of the vaccine and no serious side effects have been reported, the ministry said in a statement on Nov. 20.
This time, the injection will start to be tested on regular citizens outside the volunteer health professionals. People aged between 18 and 59 will be able to apply to volunteer in the tests.
The candidate vaccine will be tested on a total of 12,450 volunteers, the ministry said, adding that test trials of the injection are underway in 25 centers in the country’s 12 provinces.
The tests on regular citizens will start Nov. 23, Professor Mustafa Kemal Çelen from Dice University told Demirören News Agency.
The health workers who have taken part in test trials have developed antibodies and the vaccine has shown 92 percent to 98 percent protection, said Çelen, the head of the department of infectious diseases at the university.
Turkey will sign a contract within days to buy at least 20 million doses of the candidate vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Nov. 18, adding that Ankara was also in talks to buy doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine.
“We will be able to procure at least 10 million doses of the Chinese vaccine in December. We want to increase this number. It will be just as much in January, too,” Koca said.
Turkey would become the second buyer of the Chinese vaccine after Brazil.
“If the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine obtains its license, Turkey may get one million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. We are in talks to gradually go up to 25 million within a year starting from January,” Koca also announced.
“If we cannot turn the course of the epidemic in our favor, there may be mandatory measures in all areas of our lives. Join the fight,” Koca wrote on Twitter.
In the face of the increased number of patients, the government this week ramped up measures to slow the spread of the virus, announcing a raft of new curbs.
As part of those restrictions, partial weekend curfews are set to take effect starting this weekend with movement allowed between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cinemas will remain closed until the end of the year.
Malls, markets, restaurants and hairdressers will also be open from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. throughout the week, with restaurants only providing delivery services and schools switching back to remote learning.