Turkey to receive 100 mln doses of virus vaccine by end of May, says minister

Turkey to receive 100 mln doses of virus vaccine by end of May, says minister

Turkey to receive 100 mln doses of virus vaccine by end of May, says minister

A total of 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in Turkey by the end of May, the country’s health minister has said.

Speaking after a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science Board on March 25, Fahrettin Koca said that so far 1.4 million Pfizer/BioNTech jabs have arrived in Turkey, and the figure will reach 4.5 million by April.

He added that an optional deal for another 30 million shots from Pfizer/BioNTech has also been made.

Koca also said that Turkey on March 25 received 10 million doses of vaccines, which will be filled in the country.

Earlier this week, Koca announced that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would start to be used next week.

Turkey has until now been using COVID-19 vaccine shots developed by China’s Sinovac in its inoculation drive which was rolled out on Jan. 14.

Teachers, who have been already started to be vaccinated, will be the first recipients of the Pfizer/BionTech jab, daily Hürriyet reported.

With the arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech injections, the vaccination drive is expected to gain further momentum.

The vaccine will be administered in two doses and 28 days apart.

The minister also unveiled that initial talks have begun for the procurement of Russia’s Sputnik-V injection.

“This vaccine will be eligible for widespread use following the testing process for its compatibility,” Koca said, adding Ankara was in talks with other vaccine providers.

It would be wrong to be dependent on vaccines developed by other countries in a pandemic such as the one the world is currently going through, Koca stressed adding that: “Our own vaccine is our weapon.”

Turkey has made a significant progress in developing an injection against COVID-19, the minister noted.

“One candidate, developed by Erciyes University, will enter phase 3 trials by the end of April as the last volunteers will get the second dose on April 9,” Koca said.

The minister also informed that Turkey started on March 25 phase 1 trials of a virus-like particle vaccine today, one of the most innovative vaccine candidates in the world.

To date, Turkey has administered more than 14.5 million vaccines against COVID-19. Nearly 8.2 million people have received the first dose while another 6.3 million people have received both doses.

Koca also voiced optimism about the prospects of curbing the outbreak.

“Everyone is expecting an answer from us to the question of how much longer will we continue like this? We will be able to bring the outbreak under control by the end of May or by the end of June at the latest when the vaccination is completed. This is a realistic answer to the question,” Koca said.