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Turkey to buy 20 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses from China, also talking to Pfizer

ANKARA, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Turkey will sign a contract within days to buy some 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told parliament.

The government is also in talks to buy a vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, the state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Koca as saying late on Wednesday.

“We will be able to procure at least 10 million doses of the Chinese vaccine in December. We want to increase this number. It will be just as much in January, too,”

“This figure can easily double, probably. A contract will be signed on this in one or two days,” he said at his ministry’s budget presentation in parliament.

Sinovac’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response, but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who recovered from the virus, preliminary trial results showed on Wednesday.

CoronaVac and four other experimental vaccines developed in China are in late-stage trials to determine their effectiveness.

The report follows upbeat news this month from Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Russia, that showed their experimental vaccines were over 90% effective based on interim data from large, late-stage trials.

Pfizer and BioNTech may secure emergency U.S. and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday.

Koca said Turkey was in talks to buy Pfizer’s vaccine as well, once it obtained its license.

“If so, the number that can be given to Turkey is 1 million. We have talks right now to gradually go up to 25 million within the year starting from January,” Koca was quoted as saying.

Reporting by Can Sezer and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Kim Coghill

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