Turkish Islamist columnist applies to court to stop COVID-19 vaccination campaign

A columnist from pro-government Islamist Yeni Akit newspaper has applied to a Turkish court in order to suspend the nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive launched last week, Birgün newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Abdurrahman Dilipak, known for his controversial views, has filed an application with an Ankara court to halt the Chinese Sinovac vaccine drive, it said.

Turkey on Thursday began administering the COVID-19 vaccine prioritizing health workers, with more than 285,000 people receiving the shot, including Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, on the first day.

The legal petition, also signed by aid organisation, the Noel Baba Association, requests a halt on the programme, citing the violation of the law in the emergency order issued for the vaccine’s approval.

Turkish authorities gave the go-ahead for the emergency use of Sinovac a day before the vaccination programme was launched.

The petition notes that China, where the phase three trial of the vaccine has yet to be conducted, has yet to approve use of shot.

Sinovac has only been approved for emergency use in high-risk groups in China since July.

Earlier this week researchers said the Chinese vaccine efficacy had been found to be 50.4 percent in Brazilian clinical trials, significantly less effective than previous data suggested.

Dilipak frequently sparks public interest with his unconventional views on health related issues. The Islamist columnist has urged the decriminalization of cannabis to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.