Turkish Health Ministry grants emergency use authorisation for CoronaVac vaccine

Turkey’s Health Ministry has granted emergency use authorisation to China’s SinoVac coronavirus vaccine, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday, a day before the start of a government announced vaccination programme.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced would begin administering vaccines for the deadly virus as of Thursday or Friday.

The authorisation, granted by the ministry’s Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, follows a two-week investigation into the Chinese vaccine, the agency said.

Turkey has purchased 50 million doses of the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine, with  3 million of them arriving in the country thus far. 

China's Sinovac Biotech-developed vaccine has made headlines this week after Reuters reported on Tuesday that the shot has a general efficacy of less than 60 percent in its clinical trial in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s top health official on Wednesday became the first person in the country to receive the vaccine, Anadolu reported.

The CoronaVac vaccine administration to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was broadcast live.

Koca announced on Wednesday that Turkey would launch the vaccination campaign on Thursday, beginning with health personnel.

Members of Turkey's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Committee, who have not contracted the virus, would be among the first to receive doses of the vaccine, Koca said.

Each individual will be assigned vaccine doses by name with a barcode and the vaccine will be applied in "compliance with measures and restrictions until the pandemic comes to an end,'' he said.