| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

TURKOVAC: Turkey’s first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey’s first indigenously created coronavirus vaccine candidate has been named ‘TURKOVAC.

Turkey’s vaccination campaign is presently using vaccinations from Sinovac Biotech in China and Pfizer-BioNTech in the United States.

“This is the pride of our nation, this pride belongs to our nation,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said about the vaccine candidate.

TURKOVAC is using an “inactivated virus” technology and was developed at Erciyes University. Other vaccine developments continue in Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said it is imperative to have a local vaccine that Turkey would use in the country and export to others.

The first dose of the vaccine’s third phase trial was administered to a male volunteer Tuesday in a videoconference by the health minister, professors and Turkey’s president. The health minister said Phase 1 and 2 trials showed the vaccine’s safety and immune response.

Turkey is currently using vaccines from China’s Sinovac and Pfizer-BioNTech. Russia’s Sputnik V is also being used.

Since Turkey launched a mass vaccination campaign this January, nearly 43.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered.

Over 29 million people have received their first doses, while over 14.57 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

Amid a nationwide fall in COVID-19 cases, Turkey is set to end pandemic curfews as of next Thursday, July 1, Erdogan said on Monday.