Turkish doctors volunteered for late-stage human trial of vaccine
The first shot of German and U.S.-based COVID-19 vaccine was given to Turkish doctors in the capital Ankara during a late-stage clinical trial.
Two doctors had volunteered to try the vaccine, produced by the U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Ger-man biotech firm BioNTech, which was first started to test on 56 people at Ankara University Faculty of Medicine.
“I hope I didn’t hit the placebo group,” said Necmettin Ünal, an anesthesiology specialist, who was vaccinated along with Ayhan Attar, a brain and nerve surgeon, within the framework of phase-3 studies of the vaccine.
Half of the participants will be injected with the vaccine and half with saline. Those who are vaccinated do not know whether the vaccine is real or a placebo.
“This vaccine was tested on 37,000 people across the world, and it was announced that there was no serious side effect,” Ünal said, adding that no treatment can have zero side effects.
The trials will then be made to nearly 550 people consisting of voluntary citizens if the desired results are achieved.
Meanwhile, some Turkish doctors have reiterated their warnings against the spread of the virus as the number of cases has drastically surged in several major cities, especially Istanbul.
The first transmission environment of the virus is in the family, the second is the workplaces, and the third is public transportation, a Turkish doctor has said, drawing attention to the density of passengers in public transport in Istanbul, where the number of cases is high.
Mehmet Ceyhan, head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Department of Hacettepe University, said that certain measures should be implemented urgently, including necessary scheduling of working time in the city, due to the increase in coronavirus cases.
The number of coronavirus cases in Istanbul, the country’s largest city by population, accounts for 40 percent of all infections in Turkey, according to Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
“The more crowded the public transportation vehicle, the more precautions in those people and the longer the contact time, the more the risk increases,” Ceyhan said, stressing that a journey takes a long time in public transport, especially in Istanbul.
Ceyhan said that it is necessary to implement different work time schedules urgently in Istanbul.
Mustafa Necmi İlhan, a member of the Science Board of the Health Ministry, referred to the adversities that may arise in the pandemic due to the winter season.
“It is necessary not to let the air dry in homes. Because the particles become more hung in dry air and the possibility of contamination increases,” he said, noting that the radiators will start to heat the houses with the arrival of the winter months.
“It is necessary to be in places that are air-conditioned with fresh air, İlhan said.