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Turkey grants emergency use authorization for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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Turkish medical authorities on Friday granted emergency use authorization for Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the country would experience no problems in the procurement of vaccines.

Erdoğan’s remarks were in contradiction to earlier comments from Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who said the country would experience vaccine scarcity in the coming two months, after which there would be an abundance of vaccines.

Turkey has so far been using vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and by Pfizer/BioNTech.

It has administered nearly 23 million inoculations, with 13.7 million people, or 16 percent of the population, having received at least one dose.

“I don’t accept that we will have any issues with vaccine procurement,” Erdoğan told reporters Friday. “Thanks to our talks with Russia, the Sputnik V vaccine is on its way,” he said, adding that he would speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the procurement if necessary.

Turkish medical authorities said on Friday they had granted emergency use authorization for Sputnik V.

Turkey has so far secured only 4.5 million BionTech/Pfizer doses and is experiencing delays in the delivery of a promised 100 million shots from China.

Turkey began a 17-day lockdown on Thursday to combat a sharp spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The restrictions are harsher than during two previous waves last year.

People will be barred from going outdoors without a valid reason, and alcohol sales are being limited to discourage public gatherings.

The third wave has also been deadlier than the previous two.

Turkey has been reporting around 350 deaths daily for the past week. Official infection numbers approached 60,000 a day earlier this month before dropping to 40,000 — still the highest in Europe.

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