Middle East

Turkey to buy 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from China, also talking to Pfizer

ANKARA (REUTERS) – Turkey will sign a contract within days to buy some 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told Parliament.

The government is also in talks to buy a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, the state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Mr Koca as saying late on Wednesday (Nov 18).

“We will be able to procure at least 10 million doses of the Chinese vaccine in December. We want to increase this number. It will be just as much in January, too,” he said.

“This figure can easily double, probably. A contract will be signed on this in one or two days,” he said at his ministry’s budget presentation in Parliament.

Sinovac’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response, but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who recovered from the virus, preliminary trial results showed on Wednesday.

CoronaVac and four other experimental vaccines developed in China are in late-stage trials to determine their effectiveness.

The report follows upbeat news this month from Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Russia, that showed their experimental vaccines were over 90 per cent effective based on interim data from large, late-stage trials.

Pfizer and BioNTech may secure emergency US and European authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95 per cent success rate and no serious side effects, the drug-makers said on Wednesday.

Mr Koca said Turkey was in talks to buy Pfizer’s vaccine as well once it obtained its licence.

“If so, the number that can be given to Turkey is one million. We have talks right now to gradually go up to 25 million within the year starting from January,” Mr Koca was quoted as saying.

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