Turkey names home-grown COVID-19 jab Turkovac
Phase 3 trials of Turcovac vaccine inaugurated in Turkey's capital, President Erdogan attends via videoconference
The vaccine development program has entered Phase 3 clinical trials on volunteers, starting at Ankara City Hospital in the country's capital, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attending via videoconference.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca witnessed the first volunteers getting the jabs: Erciyes University’s Aykut Ozdarendereli, one of the scientists who developed the vaccine, and Dr. Serhat Unal, its Turkish coordinator.
Speaking at the event, Erdogan said Turkey stepped up its mass inoculation efforts with vaccines imported from Germany and China, but that domestic vaccines would help control infection in the future.
“It is critical that we have our own vaccine in order to save our country from the grip of the pandemic as soon as possible and to ensure the health and welfare of our nation. With this study, which has entered Phase 3, we have now entered the final turning point in having our own vaccine,” said Erdogan.
Turkey this week announced the ending of most pandemic restrictions due to dropping case numbers, but Erdogan also called on Turkish citizens to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.
Speaking at the event, Koca called it a historic moment.
Koca said the Turkish vaccine’s safety and efficacy were proved in Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies.
“Today, the vaccine has reached its final phase, which means its formulation will not change from now on. This is the pride of our nation, this pride belongs to our nation,” he said.
Ozdarendeli said with the development of the vaccine, Turkey reaped the fruit of its investments in science since 2013, adding that Turkey has very good experience and infrastructure not only now but also for future diseases that may arise.
Unal also said they are proud of the contributions they have made to vaccine development and that they will share their work with the world.
Over 29 million people have received their first doses, while over 14.57 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.
That same day Turkey will also lift intercity travel restrictions and restrictions on urban public transport, and public institutions and organizations will return to normal working order.