ANKARA

Scientists in Turkey have attested to the reliability and effectiveness of novel coronavirus vaccines being brought to the country, some of which have started to be administered in other nations as well.

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, which is planned to be brought to Turkey starting on Dec. 11, will be administered to different groups based on the Health Ministry’s prioritization, especially for health workers.

In addition, negotiations are underway with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer on procuring a vaccine developed by German biotech company BioNTech, co-founded by Turkish scientist couple Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci.

Scientists shared their evaluations with Anadolu Agency on the vaccines that will begin to be administered in Turkey.

Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan, head of the Ankara-based Infectious Diseases Association, said discussions on which vaccine people should choose were not appropriate at this stage since they may cause confusion. 

“The reality is that, at least for a certain period of time, the Pfizer-BioNTech joint vaccine will not enter the country,” Ceyhan said.

“For this reason, there is no need for people to discuss this,” he added.

None of the Phase-3 studies that are about to be completed found serious side effects, Ceyhan noted, other than redness, swelling, pain or general malaise.

“Let’s say this vaccine [Sinovac] protects at around 50-60% and the other vaccine protects at 95%. Despite everything, it’s necessary to get this vaccine, because even if it protects by 50%, it’s very important to get 50% protection from such a disease,” he said on the Sinovac vaccine. 

“Vaccination aims to end the epidemic by making a certain part of society immune. If there’s a serious proportion of people in society who don’t vaccinate, this goal can’t be achieved. In this case, the epidemic will reemerge, despite those who have been vaccinated,” he warned.

“Without a doubt, I’m going to get vaccinated.”  

No need’ to doubt vaccines in Turkey

Dr. Ismail Balik from Ankara University in Turkey’s capital, stressed that the Phase 3 trials of some vaccines would soon be complete, along with others that had received emergency licenses. 

“Right now, Phase 3 clinical trials of ‘new generation biotechnological production mRNA vaccine’ and another Chinese vaccine are ongoing,” said Balik.

“Despite over 1 million doses of these vaccines having been administered, there have been no significant reports of side effects so far from either the world or our country. However, they appear to be very effective against COVID-19,” he added.

“If all goes well, our own vaccine will be completed and go into use in the summer,” stressed Balik.  

‘No problem’ with safety

Dr. Esin Senol of Gazi University also stated that all vaccines that passed Phase 1 and Phase 2 were considered safe.

Currently, there are 13 vaccines in Phase 3 for COVID-19, Senol said, adding that three of these vaccines were in the process of applying for approval.

“It’s not right at this stage to comment on whether or not to get vaccinated. There is no problem with vaccine’s reliability,” she added.   

*Writing by Merve Berker

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