President Erdoğan says he will get COVID-19 vaccine
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he will get vaccinated against COVID-19, in a move intended to boost public confidence in the safety and efficacy of the jab that is hoped to bring an end to the pandemic.
“Regarding the issue, I personally have no problem with getting vaccinated. Health is at stake here. Of course, we will do whatever is necessary to protect our health,” he told reporters on Dec. 4 when asked about his personal view on the issue.
“We need to take such a step to set an example to all citizens in the country. We hope to save our citizens from this trouble with treatment methods as soon as possible,” Erdoğan stated.
Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey will have a range of different vaccines developed against the novel coronavirus.
He had a conversation with Uğur Şahin, CEO of BioNTech, which has developed a vaccine together with its U.S. partner Pfizer Inc., who said their jab was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data from a large study, Erdoğan added.
Turkey also has had talks with China and Russia, Erdoğan noted.
“Diversity definitely exists,” he said on the vaccines that Turkey will roll out for public use.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had previously announced an agreement with the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech for 50 million doses of the CoronaVac, which is currently in Phase 3 trials.
The first shipment of the vaccines it has purchased is set to arrive in Ankara sometime after Dec. 11, Health Minister Koca said Wednesday.
“We have signed a contract for the supply of an inactive virus vaccine. We are also in talks for a mRNA vaccine,” Koca said in a statement after a virtual meeting of the Coronavirus Science Advisory Board.
Public health laboratories and the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency will evaluate the vaccines when they arrive, he said.
The Health Ministry will grant a permit for early use if the vaccines are found to be in line with the country’s standards, he said, adding their application will begin after this stage.