Turkey to Begin Sinovac Covid Vaccinations Before Trials Over


Turkey plans to start Covid-19 vaccinations using the Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shots as early as next month, before it completes human trials, officials said, as the country’s daily death toll from the virus hits new highs and intensive-care beds fill up.

The government has published a change to regulations that allows the new timeframe.

So-called phase 3 trials involving 12,500 people are yet to reach the midway mark and will only be completed in February, according to a member of the Covid-19 Science Board, a body of health professionals that advises authorities. The official asked not to be named because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The vaccinations will be administered based on the results from final trials in Indonesia and Brazil, as well as “interim analyses” in Turkey, a government official said, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity. No serious side effects from the Chinese vaccine have been observed, the official said.

Turkey’s Medicine and Medical Device Agency issued the regulatory change permitting the vaccinations.

In “exceptional situations” where an infectious disease threatens public health, vaccines that don’t yet have “comprehensive data on efficiency, safety and quality” may be granted an emergency-use license, according to the amendment published in the official gazette on Friday.

Turkey has signed an agreement for 50 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine. An initial shipment of 3 million doses is expected to arrive before the end of the year, the government official said.

Daily deaths from the virus reached an all-time peak of 243 on Thursday. Almost two million cases have been recorded in Turkey, with the nationwide average adult occupancy rate for intensive care units nearing 74%.

There are currently at least six Covid-19 vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials across the world. These trials aim to compare the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines versus a placebo.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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