Virus vaccine may be applied in Turkey in December, says health minister

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Turkey may apply a COVID-19 vaccine that is being developed by China in December, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said.

In the first phase, some 5 million doses of the vaccine will be applied in the country with another 5 million doses in January and February each, the minister told daily Hürriyet.

Turkey has made all necessary agreements for the Chinese injection and the vaccination will go ahead as planned if human trials produce the expected results in terms of safety and well-developed immunity levels.

Talks are also underway for another potential vaccines being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech to be made available in Turkey, according to the minister.

Turkey has been conducting human test trials of the Chinese vaccine on volunteers in more than 20 centers across country since mid-September.

Tests on volunteers for Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine are also underway in Turkey.

Officials are also in talks for the injection being developed by Russia.

Koca also said that works on the development of local vaccine, which are carried out by 16 local companies, had made good progress and that the domestically produced vaccine could be applied after April the latest.

The minister’s remarks on the vaccine came shortly after he warned that the coronavirus outbreak has been on the rise in Turkey, with Istanbul accounting for 40 percent of all cases in the country.

Koca on Oct. 23 also said that Turkey was seeing a second COVID-19 peak in the Anatolian heartland region, with a dangerous rise in the number of patients.

“The pandemic is in its second peak in Anatolia. We are facing a risky increase,” Koca told a news conference.

The first peak in the outbreak in the country’s large provinces was in mid-April, with the second peak occurring in September, he said.

In the provinces in the Anatolia region the peak was seen in September and we are seeing the second peak in those provinces now, Koca added.

The minister urged continued measures to stem the spread of the virus.

“We must minimize the time we spend outside. Let’s stay at home except for our occupations and obligations,” he said.

Hurriyet Daily News

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