Sinovac, the Chinese developer of the first COVID-19 vaccine used in Turkey, was urged by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca to invest in the country for mass production of vaccines. Koca, who held a videoconference call with Sinovac executives, said he believed a good cooperation model can be developed between the company and his country. According to media outlets, Sinovac has reportedly started production in Turkey.
Sinovac's CoronaVac, an inactive vaccine, was Turkey’s first choice for vaccination against the coronavirus. It was the first jab applied in the country to health care workers during the campaign that later included a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The Health Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that Koca highlighted the importance of global cooperation against the pandemic and that this served as a great challenge for an international partnership. “I invite you to invest in Turkey for vaccine production and take our cooperation to another level. The Health Ministry is ready to offer support for your investments. We attach importance to the production of vaccines, primarily the COVID-19 vaccine but also joint production of others like influenza and Hepatitis A vaccines,” Koca is quoted as saying. Koca said they could also develop a cooperation model for mass production of a locally made inactive vaccine currently in Phase 3 trials. “Thus, your company will boost its market share while Turkey will make a technology transfer,” he said. Sinovac executives said at the meeting that they would send a technical delegation to Turkey to discuss methods of cooperation. They voiced commitment to establish a local production facility in Turkey and increase “cooperation capacity with Turkish scientists.” They also expressed interest in assistance in tracking new variants in Turkey and delivering more vaccines to the country “to get closer to the end of the pandemic.”