CoronaVac, a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, has an efficacy rate of 83.5 percent, while it has 100 percent success in prevention of hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections, according to the results of stage three trials of the vaccine conducted by a Turkish university.
The Ankara-based Hacettepe University announced the stage three trial results of CoronaVac on Wednesday. There were widespread concerns about the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine, which began to be administered to the Turkish people in January according to a priority list set by the Health Ministry.
According to a statement from Hacettepe University, the stage three trials of the CoronaVac vaccine, which began on Sept. 14, have been concluded with the participation of 10,216 volunteers aged between 18 and 59. Fifty-seven percent of the participants were men, while 43 percent were women with an average age of 45.
In addition to a high efficacy rate, the university’s statement also revealed that no deaths were reported among the volunteers who received the vaccine. The vaccine’s most frequent side effects were cited as exhaustion, headaches, muscle pain and fever.
Turkey’s choice of an experimental vaccine for mass vaccinations was a matter of controversy because the phase three trials of CoronaVAC were not yet completed, and Sinovac has not received any approval for use from the US’s FDA or the European Medicines Agency.
Despite widespread concerns about the safety of CoronaVAC, Turkey has ordered 50 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company.
However, officials in Brazil, where phase three trials of CoronaVAC were also conducted, announced on Jan. 12 that the vaccine was 50.38 percent effective in preventing coronavirus, a number that meets the threshold required by global regulators for approval but much lower than those of rival inoculations from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZenica.
According to data from the Turkish Health Ministry, 9.397.564 people had been vaccinated with CoronaVac in Turkey as of March 3, with 7.279.800 of these people receiving the first dose and 2.117.764 receiving both doses.
In the meantime, Turkish Health Minsier Fahrettin Koca said in remarks published by the pro-government daily Sabah on Wednesday that a new and potentially more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been detected in more than 70 provinces across the country.
“The spread of the new variant continues to increase proportionally. It is more contagious. There is a common view that it is 30 to 70 percent more contagious, but it is difficult to tell exactly,” said Koca.
Turkey reported 11, 837 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, while the daily death toll over the past 24 hours was 68.