Turkey aims to vaccinate 50 million people by summer: Minister
Turkey targets to buy and bring 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and have 50 million residents out of the 83 million population inoculated by the summer, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Dec. 8.
The country will not make any payment for the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, if the third phase of the clinical trials fail to show success, he told private newspaper and broadcaster Habertürk.
“If we are not satisfied with the result, we will not pay for Sinovac, the Chinese vaccine. We have this condition in our agreement. We are the only country that could make a deal with them. We have the right not pay any money,” said Koca.
Stressing Ankara’s efforts to obtain vaccines from across the world, Koca noted, “I wish citizens knew how much we are struggling to get the vaccines. We made a lot of meetings with firms. Only Sinovac [China] and AstraZeneca/Oxford [Britain] guaranteed they would deliver vaccines in the time we wanted.”
“The British firm had difficulties with the results, so we gave up the idea of buying from them. But the door is still open. They still want to sell to us, and we can buy,” said the minister, adding that the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine is the cheapest vaccine at a price of $4.
Koca compared Turkey’s vaccination targets with other countries.
“Britain has started vaccinations. They target 600,000 injections by the end of the month. Germany will inject 11 million doses by the end of April, which means 5.5 million people. But we will deliver 50 million doses by the same month.”
“I speak frankly. Our target is to obtain 100 million doses by the end of April. Then comes the summer. Before the summer, we aim to have 50 million people inoculated. It is our obligation to reach that number.”
When asked, “Will you buy vaccines of the German company BioNtech?” the minister said, “We will. But they will deliver 25 million doses by the end of the year. We want to apply them at an earlier date, by the summer. There is a fire and we want to extinguish it as soon as possible. We want to finish this problem.”
He underlined that the price of the German firm’s vaccine, produced together with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, is the same as the Chinese vaccine with $11 of price each.
The minister also announced that the first phase work of the Turkish COVID-19 vaccine has been successful. “We hope to have our national vaccine by April, and we will be able to produce it,” added Koca.