Wed, 14 Apr 2021

ANKARA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Anti-COVID-19 vaccines developed by China save lives and are an important tool for defeating the global pandemic as they have proved very successful in mass inoculation programs across the world, a Turkish expert said.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Canturk Alagoz, CEO of Keymen Pharmaceuticals, and the distributor in Turkey of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese Sinovac Biotech pharmaceutical company, said his country was grateful to the people and government of China for this safe product, the CoronaVac.

The Turkish firm also conducted clinical trials of the Sinovac jab in Turkey. "It has a very good safety profile. The Phase III trials have been yielding important immunogenicity results," Alagoz said.

"We thank the people and the administration of China. Sinovac has helped overcome a serious hurdle in mass inoculation in Turkey and other countries. It makes lives better," the head of the medical company said.

The vaccines have also gained recognition from scientists around the globe, Alagoz added.

"This vaccine saves lives, we have seen it in the global fight against the pandemic, especially in developing countries," he said, praising China's practice in making a vaccine against this deadly disease and sharing it with other countries.

"China has worked extensively to develop this vaccine and at the end has been successful. China's attitude to share it with the rest of the world is right and fair, you cannot beat this disease only by thinking about it yourself, you have to share knowledge," he said.

Turkey launched in mid-January a mass inoculation drive with the Sinovac jab, aiming to vaccinate 60 percent of its population ultimately.

Some 7.5 million people have been vaccinated so far, essentially health workers and the elderly, according to data from the health ministry. Education Minister Ziya Selcuk received his first shot on Wednesday. Teachers are next in line as Turkey plans to reopen schools as of March 1.

The vaccine is voluntary and free of charge.

Alagoz said he believes that China's scientific efforts to fight COVID-19 and produce vaccines have helped strengthen bilateral cooperation and friendship with Turkey.

"This is a serious service towards safety and health. Our trade cooperation was already growing and this vaccine has demonstrated that we can cooperate in other fields as well," the expert said.

Sinovac has announced earlier that it will export semi-finished jabs to some countries, and help build local filling and packaging lines in importing countries to improve production capacity and efficiency.

Turkey reported its first COVID-19 case on March 11, 2020. So far, it has recorded some 2.6 million infections and over 28,000 deaths.

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