Turkey is expected to roll out its first locally produced COVID-19 vaccine by the end of summer, the country’s health minister said Thursday.

Fahrettin Koca made the remarks while addressing a World Health Organization media briefing via video link.

“I believe that our first vaccine will be ready and successful by August, September, by the summer term,” Koca said.

He pushed for enabling vaccine production globally without making intellectual property rights an issue.

“Although we are not among the countries that produce vaccines at the moment, I would like to add that we share some of the vaccines that we received with different countries to be used for healthcare professionals,” he said.

Koca stressed that there are 18 Turkish vaccine candidates on the WHO list.

“Turkey’s domestic vaccine production work continues rapidly. We believe that we will produce our own vaccine in a short time,” he said.

He went on to say that Turkey assumed “the role of a facilitator” by establishing “diplomatic bridges” between the vaccine manufacturing countries and the countries experiencing problems with access to the COVID-19 jabs.

“I can gladly say that we have started to get results from these initiatives.”

Turkey also sent medical aid to 158 countries amid the pandemic, he added.

In his speech, the minister also highlighted that Turkey collaborated with 14 international organizations, including WHO, in the COVID-19 process, adding that he was personally in touch with the health ministers of 20 countries, and that Turkey’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board shared its experiences with 13 countries.

“We have completed vaccinating nearly 1.1 million health workers in Turkey in only 45 days,” he said.

Koca underlined that Turkey along with the WHO is preparing to establish a digital platform for healthcare professionals.

“The heroes of this period, when people are massively in fear and seeking safety, are healthcare professionals,” he said.

Referring to the healthcare professionals around the world, Koca said: “You are the people to whom all humanity is grateful at the same time for the same reason. Humanity will find the best way to express this feeling. I pay my respect to you all.”

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