Although Turkey was late in beginning vaccinations against the coronavirus and is procuring a vaccine from China with a controversial efficacy rate, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the country is doing much better than many developed countries in the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Look, there’s a shortage of vaccines in the world’s most developed countries now. They can’t find vaccines. Thank God we have begun to receive vaccines due to the steps we took, and initially 50 million doses will come to our country. We began the vaccinations quickly, and they’re continuing now,” said Erdoğan, speaking at a ceremony at his presidential palace in Ankara.
According to Erdoğan, Turkey has managed the coronavirus pandemic with success and has left it behind at a time when heartbreaking scenes are seen in the most developed countries of the world.
Turkey has so far received 9.5 million doses of the CoronaVAC vaccine, developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
The first shipment of 3 million doses arrived on Dec. 30 after a two-week delay, while the second shipment arrived on Jan. 25.
Critics accuse Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of poorly managing the pandemic and lagging behind other countries in beginning vaccinations.
Turkey’s choice of an experimental vaccine for mass vaccinations is also a matter of controversy because the phase three trials of CoronaVAC are not yet completed.
Despite widespread concerns about the safety of CoronaVAC, Turkey has ordered 50 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company. The vaccine has an efficacy rate of 91.25 percent based on early results of late-stage trials conducted in Turkey, according to a statement from Minister Koca in late December.
However, officials in Brazil, where phase three trials of CoronaVAC were also conducted, announced on Jan. 12 that the vaccine was 50.38 percent effective in preventing coronavirus, a number that meets the threshold required by global regulators for approval but much lower than those of rival inoculations from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZenica.
BioNTech in cooperation with Pfizer developed a coronavirus vaccine with an efficacy rate of 95 percent. The vaccine was first approved in the UK on Dec. 8 for emergency use, with the US, Canada and European Union following soon after. All began their own vaccination drives in December.
A third trial in Indonesia showed an efficacy of 65.3 percent for CoronaVAC.