The emergency authorization application for the domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TİTCK), Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced.
Speaking during a videoconference call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Koca said Turkovac has been approved for immediate use and stressed that Turkey is now one of the nine countries producing the COVID-19 vaccine.
He added that Turkovac would be used widely as of next week.
Erdoğan, on the other hand, said that Turcovac was the symbol of the efforts to protect the Turkish nation in the most effective way against the pandemic.
“Together with the production of Turkovac, we will be pleased to share this vaccine with all humanity,” he noted.
Developed by a team of scientists in cooperation with the Presidency of Turkish Health Institutes and Kayseri Erciyes University, the inactivated vaccine was tested on volunteers in the country’s 28 provinces since it began phase 3 trials in June.
Initial data suggest that Turkovac is “very effective” against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, speaking during a visit to Şanlıurfa, a southeastern province that has the lowest fully vaccinated adult population rate at 58.7 percent, Koca said 80 percent of the patients in intensive care units in the city are either unvaccinated or individuals with incomplete vaccination status.
Expressing that Şanlıurfa had a tough time in the early stages of the pandemic and that it was one of the provinces where the disease spread the most, Koca stated that the city was now struggling to increase the vaccination rate.
“The worst days are over; tomorrow will be better and healthier than today,” he said.
Stressing that it is necessary to reach an effective vaccination rate to overcome the pandemic,Koca said: “Our fight will be won with the support and participation of each of our citizens.”
Data from the Health Ministry show that Turkey has administered nearly 125 million doses since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January.