Highlighting vaccine shortage, Turkish health minister announces deal for 50 million Sputnik V

Turkey will experience difficulties in procuring COVID-19 vaccines over the next two months, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday, when he also announced a deal for 50 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V, set to become the country’s third COVID-19 vaccine.

Turkey will experience an “abundance of vaccines after two months,“ Duvar news site cited Koca as saying in a televised speech, but vaccine procurement will become more difficult in the next two months,’’ he added.

The country in January began a vaccine campaign, which is heavily reliant on China’s Sinovac, but also uses the Pfizer jab. A total of 22 million shots have been administered to date, with 13.55 million people receiving the first dose.

Koca on Wednesday said that Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine would begin arriving in the country next month.

“We are at the last stage for Sputnik V vaccine emergency use authorisation and made a deal for its procurement. Turkey signed a deal to receive 50 million doses within six months,” he said.

Reuters on Wednesday cited Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) as saying that Turkish pharmaceutical firms would produce Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at its plants.