Turkey approves China-based Sinovac vaccine’s emergency use

Health

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses ambassadors of EU nation, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Erdogan said Tuesday his country is ready to put its frayed relationship with the European Union “back on track” and called on the 27-nation bloc to display the same determination. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish authorities gave the go-ahead for the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. on Wednesday, paving the way for the rollout for Turkey’s vaccination program starting with health care workers and other high-risk groups.

The country’s health minister, Fahrettin Koca, and members of the country’s scientific advisory council received the first shots live on television, soon after the health regulatory authority, the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, announced it had given the green light for use in the country of 83 million.

“I had previously said that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Koca said as he received the first dose of the vaccine, which will be delivered in two doses. “I believe that the days ahead of us will be bright.”

Koca said Turkey’s vaccination program would begin on Thursday, starting with health care workers. He urged all citizens to be vaccinated, saying it was the most promising way to beat the pandemic.

The shots would carry a QR code assigned to a person’s name in accordance with Ankara’s vaccination program and an online appointment system.

The Sinovac vaccine underwent studies in Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia, and there’s uncertainty over just how protective it is.

Researchers in Brazil last week had pegged the vaccine as 78% effective at protecting against symptomatic illness — but this week they announced data showing overall, effectiveness is just over 50%.

Researchers in Turkey and Indonesia had announced higher effectiveness rates — 91% and 65% respectively — but those studies were far too small to be conclusive. Global health authorities have said any vaccine that is at least 50% effective would be useful.

The first shipment Sinovac vaccine, consisting of 3 million doses, arrived in Turkey late last month. Turkey is scheduled to receive a total of 50 million doses.

Turkey had previously also announced that it has agreed to procure 4.5 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with an option to procure 30 million more doses later, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that talks with BioNTech were ongoing.

Turkey has reported about 2.34 million infections and around 23,000 deaths.

The country has imposed weekend lockdowns and evening curfews to fight the surge in the cases.

___

Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul and Mauricio Savarese in Sao Paulo, Brazil, contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Business News

More Business News

Political News

More Political News

Technology News

More Technology News

Science News

More Science News

Entertainment News

More Entertainment News

Odd News

More Odd News
More Home Page Top Stories