AKP politicians, relatives secretly receiving COVID-19 vaccine, opposition deputy claims

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An experimental vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech arrived in Turkey 10 days ago, and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians, their relatives and close circle of friends have begun to be secretly vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to an opposition deputy.

The claim was made by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir in a written statement on Wednesday.

Turkey ordered 50 million doses of CoronaVac, developed by Sinovac and currently in late-stage trials. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca recently announced that the vaccinations would begin later this month.

“For days we have been asking how the vaccine will get to Turkey, the details of the agreement [made with the Chinese company] and the price of the vaccine. The ministry has been pretending to inform the public but actually doesn’t provide any information and is not transparent. Now we understand why [vaccine procurement] process was carried out behind closed doors,” said Emir.

In the meantime, Turkish Health Minister Koca said in a televised interview on Tuesday that Turkey would also buy 25 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by US pharma giant Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech.

“They will be able provide 25 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year. We are trying to get an earlier delivery,” said the minister.

Koca also said Turkey aims to vaccinate 50 million people in the country before summer of 2021.

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