25 December 2020. Global Times: Chinese vaccine producer Sinovac’s inactivated COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac shows 91.25 percent efficacy in Phase III clinical trials in Turkey, Turkish health ministry announced Thursday local time.
The data could be increasing, and with the evaluations of the Scientific Committee, “we were sure of the effect of the vaccine. We are now confident that the vaccine is effective and safe for Turkish people,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said at a press conference on Thursday.
The result is an interim data, the Global Times learned from Sinovac.
Turkey hopefully will receive the first shipment of CoronaVac vaccines on Monday. Chinese authorities have completed approval process for the vaccine doses that will be sent to Turkey, according to Koca.
Earlier this month, Koca said the country had signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac.
Turkey’s decision to purchase Chinese COVID-19 vaccines reflects its trust in China, and China is ready to provide necessary assistance to Turkey, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on December 14 during a phone call.
Around 13,000 volunteers in Turkey participated in Sinovac’s Phase III clinical trials, according to Reuters.
The first batch of 20 million doses of Sinovac vaccines is scheduled to be received in December and January. The second batch of 10 million doses will arrive in February.
All the 50 million doses are scheduled to arrive in Turkey by the end of February, according to the press conference.
“For efficacy analysis (i.e. whether the vaccine is effective to prevent COVID-19), we have to identify 40 volunteers developing COVID-19 [from all participants who have been taking doses]. Then, the independent safety board will look at the data and see whether these patients had vaccine or placebo, in order to calculate vaccine production rate,” said the trials study coordinator Professor Murat Akova of the Infectious Diseases department at Hacettepe University in November, where the clinical tests were launched on September 17.
The local department requested the vaccine candidate to be at least 60 percent efficient as protocol set. The trials research team and its Ethics Committee can make the interim analysis when they found 20 COVID-19 patents among the volunteers, according to Akova.
Besides Sinovac’s vaccine, Turkey also planned to receive 4.5 million doses of Pfizert/BioNTech vaccine by the end of March, among which 1-1.5 million will come in January, Koca said, noting that Turkey will sign a contract purchasing up to 30 million doses Thursday night or Friday.