Turkey inks deal for 50 million doses of Russian jab Sputnik V
Turkey has signed an agreement for a total of 50 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the country’s health minister has said, however, warning that there will be jab supply issues in the next month.
Turkey will receive those Russian injections within six months with the first deliveries arriving in May, according to Fahrettin Koca.
“We are at the last stage for Sputnik V vaccine emergency use authorization and technology will be transferred for the production of the jab in Turkey,” the minister said on April 28.
Earlier this week, Turkish pharmaceuticals company Viscoran İlaç and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) agreed to cooperate on the production of Sputnik V in Turkey.
Sputnik V, which demonstrated an efficacy of 97.6 percent, has been registered in 61 countries globally, covering a total population of over 3 billion people, the RDIF said in a statement.
Turkey, which started its inoculation program on Jan. 14, has been using the vaccines developed by Pzifer/BioNTech and the Chinese pharmaceuticals firm Sinovac.
“As of June, the deliveries of the BioNTech vaccine will exceed 30 million doses,” said Koca, who previously informed that Turkey already received 4.5 million doses of this injection.
The minister also announced the two doses of BioNTech vaccine will be administered in a six to eight-week interval.
This decision was made following consultations with Professor Uğur Şahin, co-founder and CEO of BioNTech, Koca said.
To date, Turkey has been administered the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines 28 days apart.
The announcement caused some confusion at first as many interpreted the decision that those who already received the first dose of the BioNTech vaccine, will be given the second dose within the interval of six to eight weeks.
But the Health Ministry later clarified that the decision will apply to first-time receivers of the jab. “The appointment already made for the second doses are valid,” the ministry said.
People in Tukey need to make an appointment to receive their shots.
Koca also said that preparations for the phase 3 trials would begin in the next few days for the domestic inactivated vaccine and noted that this was the last step for the general usage.
Since the beginning of the inoculation drive, Turkey has administered more than 22.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Over 13.6 million people have received their first doses, while over 8.9 million have been given both doses.
Five people in Istanbul have been diagnosed with the Indian variant of COVID-19, Koca also said.
“This strain was found for the first time. Those individuals who contracted the Indian variant are isolated and closely monitored,” he added.
The minister noted that the U.K. variant is the most common type of the COVID-19 strain detected in Turkey while the Brazilian and South African variants have also been found.