Turkish authorities have given emergency use authorization to the indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine, named Turkovac. The health minister said it would be available from the end of December.
Speaking at the vaccine’s manufacturing facility in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa on Wednesday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that the much-delayed Turkovac Covid-19 shot had been approved for use in Turkey and would be administered starting next weekend.
Koca delighted in the fact that Turkey was now one of just nine countries that are making Covid-19 vaccines, according to his data. The health minister also praised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his leadership and ensuring the vaccine’s use.
In a video address, Erdogan also hailed the development. “Our Turkovac vaccine … is the symbol of our efforts to protect our nation against the epidemic in the most effective way. We will be pleased to share this vaccine with all humanity,” he said.
The vaccine was expected to be ready earlier this year but has been beset by delays. It is administered in two doses that are 28 days apart.
More than 125 million doses of vaccines have been administered in Turkey, using shots made by China’s Sinovac and by Pfizer-BioNTech. 51 million people have received two doses of the vaccines; some have been given a third booster shot.
Turkey has been hit hard by Covid-19, with official data showing some 80,000 deaths. Infections remain high, with around 20,000 new cases a day. The seven-day average for daily deaths has recently fallen under 200.