ANKARA 

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.

Koca stressed that there are 18 Turkish vaccine candidates in 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.

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

“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.

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