Work on developing local jab making progress
The inactivated vaccine, Turkovac, is presently being tested on volunteers in phase three trials in 41 centers in the country’s 28 provinces.
It is given to volunteers, who have already received two doses of other vaccines, as a booster shot.
“Data show that Turkovac has mild side effects, which are not something to worry about. These are very common side effects for any vaccine,” said Professor Tuna Demiral from İzmir Katip Çelebi University’s Atatürk Training and Research Hospital, which is one of the 41 centers conducting trials for the potential local jab.
People aged between 18 and 59, who have not contracted the virus and received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, can volunteer to take part in the trials, he explained.
The studies on developing the local vaccine will also provide an opportunity to compare Turkovac with the Sinovac vaccine, Demiral said.
Turkey is using both the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Chinese firm Sinovac’s jab in its inoculation drive, which was rolled out in mid-January.
More than 122 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Turkey to date. Over 51 million people have received two doses of the jab, while around 57 million people have received one dose of the vaccine against the deadly virus. Additionally, close to 13 million people have received their third booster shot.
Meanwhile, the latest data Health Minister Fahrettin Koca provided on Dec. 15 showed the weekly COVID-19 incidence rate declined in Turkey’s largest cities: Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir.
The incidence rate measuring the number of new coronavirus infections per 100,000 people in Istanbul was down from nearly 287 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26 to 269.6 between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3. In Istanbul, nearly 75 percent of the adult population is double jabbed.
The number of cases per 100,000 people in the capital dropped from around 203 to 182, while in Izmir, the country’s third-largest city by population, saw the incidence rate decline from 70.7 to 69.6.
Turkey reported the first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 last week.