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Infants accidentally administered COVID vaccines in Turkey, professor claims

A Turkish professor has claimed that some infants have accidentally been given coronavirus vaccines instead of the vaccines normally administered in early childhood at some community healthcare centers in Turkey but said the vaccines produced no side effects, in remarks that led to public outrage.

Professor Zafer Kurugöl, a member of the medical faculty at Aegean University, said in remarks to NTV on Thursday morning that medical staff sometimes mistake hepatitis B or measles vaccines for the coronavirus vaccine at community healthcare centers.

“We have seen cases in which little children are given COVID vaccines. Yet, I can assure you that there have been no side effects of the [coronavirus vaccine] among those children. And they have developed very good levels of antibodies. The results were very positive even among one month and six-month-old babies. We will soon publish the results [of these vaccinations] in a well-known medical journal. Even if you give a high dose [of coronavirus vaccine] to babies, you see no significant side effects,” said the professor.

Kurugöl made these remarks to promote coronavirus vaccinations in the country and to claim that, although not yet scientifically proven, these vaccines are suitable even for infants. However, his remarks led to outrage on social media, with many users describing it as a scandal and calling on the Health Ministry to make a statement about the professor’s claims.

Coronavirus vaccines are administered in Turkey to children from the age of 12 onwards with approval from their parents.

Following the public backlash, the professor appeared on NTV again and said his remarks were misunderstood. Kurugöl said there was only one incident in which a six-month-old was administered a coronavirus vaccine instead of a hepatitis B vaccine at a community healthcare center three months ago.

“What I wanted to emphasize was to even if you administer the coronavirus vaccine to babies, there are no side effects,” he said.

The professor also apologized for his earlier remarks.

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