Turkey issues emergency-use authorization for its domestically produced vaccine.
Turkey granted emergency-use approval for a domestically developed Covid vaccine on Wednesday, adding a third inoculation option for its citizens, as the Omicron variant increasingly fuels outbreaks in Europe and beyond.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the vaccine, called Turkovac, was expected to be ready for widespread use by the end of December. It joins the two vaccines already being administered in Turkey: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has shown initial success at stopping Omicron infections among people who have received booster shots, and the CoronaVac vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinovac.
The Turkish authorities said they hoped the Turkish-developed vaccine could both bolster the country’s vaccination campaign at home and be exported.
“We are not a country miser on drugs or vaccines,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised address Wednesday. “We will be happy to share our vaccine with the world.”
Phase III trials for Turkovac began in June, and the government has offered it as an option for a booster shot as part of the vaccine development trials.
Turkey is currently reporting about 19,000 daily coronavirus cases and about 200 Covid deaths. The country announced its first Omicron cases on Dec. 11.
About 82 percent of the country’s adult population is vaccinated with two doses of either the Sinovac or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, according to official figures.
While other European countries have recently imposed lockdowns and other restrictions as the spread of the virus has accelerated, Turkey has declined to do so. Instead, the authorities are calling on people to wear masks, maintain social distance and get booster shots.