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Turkey to start using China's COVID-19 vaccine after strong results

25 December 2020, MVT 11:59
China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES
25 December 2020, MVT 11:59

Turkey will receive its first shipment of China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine within days as preliminary domestic tests showed it was 91% effective, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday.

Ankara in the next few days will also sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech for 4.5 million doses, with the option to buy 30 million more from the US pharmaceutical giant and its German partner, Koca said.

Turkey will initially receive three million doses of Sinovac and have the option for 50 million more as it begins inoculations next month, starting with healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

Koca said the first shipments of the Chinese vaccine will be sent to Turkey on Sunday.

The preliminary tests on 7,371 volunteers in Turkey showed that the Chinese vaccine was 91.25 per cent effective, although phase three tests were still not complete.

Turkey "will be able to vaccinate 1.5 million or even two million people per day," Koca said, adding that the "first stage" of vaccinations would cover nine million people.

The nation of 83 million has officially recorded 19,115 COVID-19 deaths and 2.2 million virus infections.

Istanbul, Turkey | AFP

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