By Justin Mays:
The emergency authorization for the COVID-19 Turkovac vaccine which was submitted to the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) has been approved. Turkey Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca reported on the 22nd of December 2021 that the country’s developed COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for use. He indicated that public hospitals would begin to administer this vaccine in the coming weeks.
Since the development of this vaccine, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that the vaccine will be available to fight against the deadly virus. “Our COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac, which has come to the production and usage stage by receiving the necessary approvals, is a symbol of our efforts to protect our nation against the pandemic in the most effective way,” said Erdogan in southeastern Sanliurfa province, in the laboratory where the vaccine research and production took place.
A member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Ates Kara highlighted that data collected from nationwide trials indicate that none of the people who were vaccinated with Turkovac has severe symptoms of the COVID-19 and the vaccine. These people showed a rapid increase of antibodies necessary to fight infection when administered as a booster shot.
“No individuals vaccinated with Turkovac had a severe form of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization or intensive care so far. The same applies to a comparative study with CoronaVac. It demonstrates the efficacy of the vaccine. All the data is presented to the committees that are assessing emergency use approval made earlier for Turkovac,” said Kara. The Health Ministry of Turkey offers Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in addition to CoronaVac to every eligible citizen in the country. COVID-19 has claimed 78.000 lives in Turkey since March 2020. The daily number of cases has dropped below 20.000 and the daily fatalities decreased to below 200.
More than 51 million people received their second jab of the covid vaccine in Turkey and the Ministry of Health plans to administer Turkovac as a booster shot to volunteers who already received their second jab. Kara indicated that they plan to reach at least 4.000 people in testing the side effects of Turkovac.
“We have an advantage of inactive vaccines. They are more prevalent in the world and have been provided to some 3.5 billion people and we have more data about their side effects. Thus, we simply compare them with Turkovac’s possible side effects and so far, we had no serious side effects,” he said.
Currently, scientists are running tests to assess whether the vaccine provides sufficient antigens required for prompting an immune response to the deadly infection. The expiration date for Turkovac is currently three months but they plan to extend it to six months.