Minister urges people to volunteer in studies for local vaccine

Turkey's health minister has urged the public to volunteer in studies for the development of the country's own coronavirus vaccine, Turkovac.

In the phase 3 trials, authorities are also giving the local jab candidate to volunteers as the booster shot.

"We need 3,000 volunteers to complete the studies, which are currently being conducted in 41 centers. At the moment, the number of volunteers taking part in those works has exceeded 1,000. This is our own vaccine, our power. I once again call on everybody to become a volunteer," Fahrettin Koca told reporters on Nov. 2.

For authorities to approve Turkovac's emergency use, and move to the mass production phase, the trials with 3,000 volunteers should be finalized, the minister explained.

The local vaccine candidate is given to volunteers who have already received two doses of the vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinovac.

Turkey is using both the Sinovac jab and Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in its inoculation program, which was rolled out in mid-January.

Koca also said that Turkey is not considering vaccinating children under 12 years of age against the coronavirus.

"Giving the jab to children under the age of 12 is not on our agenda. It would not be right for me to say anything about it [vaccinating this age group] for the period ahead," the minister told journalists.

Koca's comments came shortly after a member of the Health Ministry's Science Board said the board would discuss the vaccination of children aged between five and 11.

"However, it does not mean the vaccine will start to be given as we need to see first how the pandemic affects children, severe cases and hospitalization rates among children," Professor Ateş Kara from the board said...

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