Turkey to receive 100 million doses of China’s vaccine by April end
As many as 100 million doses of China’s CoronaVac vaccine will be delivered to Turkey by the end of April, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
“We will have 100 million doses of vaccine by the end of April according to a deal we made with Sinovac,” Koca told daily Hürriyet columnist Osman Müftoğlu, adding that his biggest wish is for the vaccine production to continue uninterrupted and that everything goes well.
Mass vaccinations began in Turkey on Jan. 14 after the first batch of 3 million doses of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech arrived on Dec. 30, 2020. Later, the second consignment of 10 million doses was approved.
Over 4.6 million people, mostly health care workers and elderly people, have been inoculated since Jan. 14 and about 777,000 people have already received a second dose
When asked about the arrival of the German-made Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to the country, Koca said that he trusts the Turkish-origin partner of the company, Uğur Şahin, while congratulating him once again for his success.
“Phase 3 studies in Turkey have been completed for the vaccine [Pfizer/BioNtech]. We received assurance from the manufacturer firm and Uğur Şahin for a total of 5 million doses, and we have already signed [a deal],” he said, stating that delays in vaccine production were the biggest problem in this regard.
“Just like Sinovac, there are serious disruptions in the production of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine,” Koca added.
Speaking about the importation of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University and attracted attention due to its efficiency and cost, Koca stated that there were some problems regarding the distribution and accessibility of the vaccine.
“The producer company has given the right to distribute the vaccine to the countries of the region, including us, to the Russian company that produces the Sputnik V vaccine,” Koca noted.
“When we said that we also wanted this vaccine, they stated that they did not have the AstraZeneca vaccine yet, even for the use of Russia,” Koca noted, adding that Turkey has no chance to reach this cheap, effective and safe vaccine yet, but as the Ministry, every opportunity comes with challenges.
Stressing that the issue of fair distribution in the vaccine seems to be one of the most important problems in the coming days, Koca stated that Turkey’s locally made vaccine may be used by next autumn.
Meanwhile, Koca shared a statement on Twitter with details of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board’s latest meeting.
“We are about to complete Phase 1 in the vaccination of priority groups identified by our Scientific Board,” Koca said on Feb. 16.
Noting that the number of daily infections in Turkey is within the range of 7,000 to 8,000, Koca said, “We are conducting an effective study against mutations [of COVID-19] in our country.”
“Despite this, the transmission rate of some mutations is much higher. We have to persistently continue to comply with the measures without ignoring the risk,” he warned.