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Turkish health minister says China’s CoronaVac vaccine 91 percent effective

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An experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac is 91.25 percent effective, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Thursday, adding that shipments of the vaccine to Turkey would begin on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference along with members of Turkey’s scientific board advising the government on COVID-19, Koca said the efficacy of the vaccine will increase over time.

Despite widespread concerns about the safety of CoronaVAC, Turkey has ordered 50 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company.

Koca said the first shipment of 3 million doses of CoronaVac would be dispatched to Turkey on Sunday night and arrive on Monday. The vaccines were initially expected to arrive after Dec. 11, but Koca said issues with import permits caused the delay.

Professor Serhat Ünal, an infectious disease expert and a member of the scientific board, said the finding is based on early results of late-stage trials in Turkey and added that the vaccine is safe.

CoronaVac is a so-called inactivated vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech. Ünal announced the initial results following randomized trials involving 7,371 volunteers in Turkey.

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