Erdoğan highlights global vaccine disparity, offers Turkish jab to humanity once complete

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday expressed concerns over the disparity in COVID-19 vaccine access across the world, saying Turkey would offer its own shot to the world, once complete.

The global injustices had become amplified during the pandemic and reached grave levels with the introduction of the vaccine to battle the deadly virus, T24 news site cited Erdoğan as saying during a video message during a United Nations session.

“We see that close to 100 countries across the world have yet to access a vaccine,’’ Erdoğan said. “It is very concerning for humanity and humanitarian values when you have, on the one hand, countries in which almost the entire country has been vaccinated, and on the other, billions who have not received access to the first dose of a jab.’’ 

At least 152 countries and territories have begun their vaccination rollouts, administering more than 564 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, around a year after the first Covid-19 case was reported in China, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Erdoğan went on to say the pandemic, which had caught even the richest countries unprepared, caused significant devastation, particularly in underdeveloped countries.

Turkey is ready to offer its own vaccine to countries in need once the studies for the shot are completed, Erdoğan said.

Turkish health officials have said the country is working on developing its own vaccine this year, with multiple efforts underway, including both inactive and Messenger RNA (mRNA) types of the shot.

Turkey is currently entirely dependent on China’s Sinovac vaccine.

More than 15 million shots have been administered since the vaccine drive was launched in January. Over 6.5 million people in the country have received two doses.