Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca commented on a number of issues related to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic after the meeting of the Scientific Committee held on Dec. 24, Trend reports.
Explaining the reasons why Turkey prefers an inactivated vaccine platform when choosing a vaccine against COVID-19, Koca said that developing a vaccine on this platform is the most proven method for Turkey.
Taking into account the fact that it would be advisable to conduct clinical trials among the population of the country before choosing a vaccine, the inactivated CoronaVac vaccine was preferred.
Spokesman of the Scientific Committee, Professor Serhat Unal, noted that the interim results of the third phase of clinical trials, which began in September, are already ready: “If only 40 participants are infected with the virus, this phase of the study, which was conducted among thousands of volunteers, will end this phase.”
“So far, only 29 people have been infected. Of these, 26 were given not a real vaccine, but a placebo. Three vaccinated out of more than 7,300 volunteers tested positive for the PCR test. All three are paramedics working in high-risk units. Although these three were infected, they didn’t feel any symptoms of the disease,” said Koca.
“This brings the effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Sinovac to a trial in Turkey at 91.25 percent. According to expectations, this figure will eventually be even higher. WHO considers at least 50 percent efficacy for any vaccine sufficient,” said the minister.
“With regard to the Scientific Committee's information on potential side effects of the vaccine, only 2.5 percent of the volunteers experienced mild headaches and mild fatigue. This indicates that the vaccine is safe,” Koca noted.
“Permission has been granted to supply Turkey from the end of this week with 3 million doses of the vaccine, which has been ready since December 5. In total, by February, Sinovac will send 50 million doses of vaccines to Turkey. The vaccine will be supplied to Turkey at prices relatively lower than world prices,” the Turkish minister noted.
“In Turkey, 1.5–2 million people can be vaccinated per day. Although participation in vaccination is voluntary, I believe that the population will be active in this matter, and I will be one of the first to be vaccinated. According to Turkey's vaccination strategy, at the first stage, medical workers and other persons at risk will be vaccinated,” the minister stressed.
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