ANKARA – Turkey’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, Turkovac, has applied for emergency authorisation, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday, adding he hoped the shot would be available for use by year-end.
Speaking at his ministry’s budget debate in parliament, Koca said work on Turkovac was nearing completion, and added the shot would mark the first Phase III clinical research project to be fully carried out by Turkey.
“I would like to share a piece of good news for our people: our domestic inactive COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac has applied for emergency authorisation as of today,” Koca said.
His ministry said it had applied to Turkey’s official Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK).
Turkey began developing Turkovac this year, but the launch date for the vaccine has been beset by delays. President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey would make the shot available globally.
Turkey has already administered nearly 120 million doses of vaccines using shots developed by China’s Sinovac and by Pfizer/BioNTech, with more than 50 million having received two doses of the vaccines. It has also begun administering boosters shots.
Turkey’s daily infection numbers have hovered around 30,000 since mid-September, while the daily death toll, which peaked at 290 in September, remains near 200. The government has called on people to take personal measures and get vaccinated, attributing the high infections to insufficient vaccination levels.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization Europe Director, Hans Kluge, said Turkey had offered to take in COVID-19 patients to support European countries with overwhelmed health systems and intensive care units, thanking Ankara for its contribution.
Koca responded to Kluge’s tweet, saying Turkey would donate a further 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccines via the COVAX facility.