vaccine, vaccination

Turkey will not acquire Russian coronavirus vaccine

Turkish Minister of Health claims that the Russian Sputnik vaccine has not followed “good laboratory practices”.

Turkey has ruled out acquiring the Russian Sputnik vaccine against the coronavirus, considering that it was not developed following “good laboratory practices,” according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca in statements made to a national newspaper.

“Russia could not comply with it (good practices). Therefore, it has not been possible for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the world to buy this vaccine; nor is it possible for this vaccine to receive a license from Turkey. Therefore, it is out of our sphere of interest,” Koca said in statements made to the online newspaper Habertürk.

Although the Turkish minister did not specify which specific vaccine he was referring to, everything indicates that he would be talking about the Sputnik V vaccine, the first vaccine against COVID-19 registered worldwide and produced in Russia, about which once media said that Turkey could be thinking of acquiring several doses, and even carrying out part of its phase III among the Turkish population.

“We want the Pfizer vaccine before summer”

Turkey, with a population of around 83 million inhabitants, has signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of the Chinese vaccine from Sinovac Biotech and expects to start vaccination in a few days, starting with health personnel, and have 50 vaccinated millions of people before the summer, for which it will have to acquire other vaccines; one of the candidates is the Pfizer vaccine, on which it is negotiating the acquisition of 25 million doses.

“They could give us 25 million doses (of Pfizer) by the end of 2021, but we are trying to advance the date. We want it before the summer. There is a fire going on, and we need to extinguish it as soon as possible,” Koca said referring to the pandemic of coronavirus.

In addition to talking about vaccines, the minister also referred to the current pandemic situation in Turkey, warning that daily cases of coronavirus have multiplied by 5 compared to the peak of the first wave in April; furthermore, the number of deaths has also increased by 55%. In the last 24 hours, 217 deaths from COVID-19 were registered in Turkey, raising the total death toll to 15,531.