Turkey will receive first batch of jab which is 91.25 percent effective in trials
ANKARA－Turkey will receive its first shipment of China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccines within days as preliminary domestic tests showed it was 91 percent effective, becoming the latest country to welcome Chinese scientific medical breakthroughs.
"We are sure that the vaccine is effective and safe for Turkish people," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday at a news conference.
The initial protection rate of the vaccine is 91.25 percent and no major side-effects were seen during their trial, Koca said.
The first shipment of 3 million doses of the Chinese vaccine was expected to arrive in Turkey on Monday after the Turkish government signed an agreement to buy up to 50 million doses. All of those doses will eventually arrive in the country by the end of February.
The primary group to be vaccinated will be health staff and the jabs could be applied to some 1.5 million or even 2 million people daily, Koca said, adding he will be among the pioneers in taking the Chinese vaccine.
In Asia, Bahrain said on Dec 13 it had approved a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and launched online registration for the vaccine for citizens and residents.
A statement by the National Health Regulatory Authority did not specify which vaccine of two being developed by Sinopharm had been given the go-ahead, but it cited data from Phase III clinical trials that showed an 86 percent efficacy rate in which Bahrain had participated.
Bahrain's Ministry of Health said in a statement and on its Instagram account that citizens and residents above 18 years of age could register online to receive the vaccine for free.
The data cited was the same as that announced earlier this month by the United Arab Emirates from an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials for an inactivated vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Product, a unit of Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group, or CNBG.
Malaysia said the government is now in final negotiations with China-based manufacturers Sinovac and CanSino to secure doses of the vaccine to cover more of its population.
'A historic day'
In Latin America, Brazil's state-run Butantan Institute on Wednesday announced the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China's Sinovac achieved levels of efficacy against the coronavirus required by the World Health Organization in trials with 13,000 Brazilian volunteers.
The data corroborated that the vaccine is "the safest on the market" and has achieved the superiority in efficacy required by the WHO and Brazil's Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa), said Dimas Covas, director of the institute.
"We have reached the level of effectiveness that allows us to request the registration for emergency use of the vaccine both here and in China," Covas said.
"It is a historic day for Brazilian science because of the hope it brings to Brazilians."
Brazil's Health Ministry also expected to have at least 150 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 available in the first half of 2021, with a third or more coming from Sinovac.
Arnaldo Medeiros, a Health Ministry official, said on Tuesday an initial deal to acquire 46 million doses of the vaccine developed by Sinovac could soon be expanded to 100 million doses.
In Mexico, a coronavirus vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics will be submitted on Tuesday for review by Mexican health regulator Cofepris for its application, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.
In Africa, Egypt received the first batch of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Dec 11 to help fight the COVID-19 epidemic.
The priority in distributing the vaccine would be given to the medical staff in isolation hospitals, people with chronic diseases like cancer and kidney failure, and the elderly, free of charge, said Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed.
"It's a historic day to receive the first air shipments of the Chinese anti-coronavirus vaccine," Zayed said in a news conference held at Cairo International Airport.