The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) criticised the government on Wednesday for failing to tackle vaccine hesitancy, Bianet reported.
Discriminatory policies and a lack of transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic had led to growing public mistrust of vaccines, TTB Deputy Chair Ali İhsan Öktem told an online meeting organised by the medical association.
“The relationship between medicine and industry shows how important public resources are to ensure the independence of scientific research,” Öktem said.
Turkey is preparing to roll out the domestically developed Turkovac jab after seeking emergency approval for its use, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said last week.
The announcement follows the decision to begin providing a third shot to those who have had two doses of inactivated vaccine, such as the Chinese-made Coronovac, amid concerns over faltering efficacy.
Turkey has been heavily reliant on Coronovac and its Russian equivalent, Sputnik 5, as it races to immunise its 82 million population. However, Turkish authorities initially said they would not be using the Russian-made vaccine over safety fears.
Sputnik 5 had failed to meet “good laboratory practice” conditions, Koca told HaberTurk in December.
Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul on Saturday to protest the government-led vaccine drive, some carrying placards reading: “The Turkish people will not become vaccine guinea pigs.”
Speaking at the TBB’s online meeting, Öktem said: “We must defend the principle of being vaccinated not only for ourselves, but for everyone.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was widely criticised in June for revealing he had already received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine when millions of citizens had yet to be given a first jab.
Daily COVID-19 cases in Turkey reached 28,224 on Wednesday, according to health ministry data, the highest number since May. Over 82 percent of the adult population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, the ministry said.