Serkan Alan / DUVAR
Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov wanted to personally meet with the chairwoman of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) board to ask her why the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine was not mentioned in the non-governmental organization's official report on coronavirus vaccines.
"I told him that we didn't mention Sputnik V in the report because they haven't completed third phase trials yet," Chairwoman Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı said.
The Russian vaccine has been approved for use by Moscow, and the first state to approve administration outside of Russia was Belarus, Fincancı noted, adding that she told the ambassador they would release an official stance on the treatment once trials were complete.
"It's unclear whether they even have sufficient production capacity yet," the chairwoman said, noting that Moscow's vaccination rate was relatively low. "We didn't get the impression that [Ankara] had discussed acquiring vaccines. First they have to ensure supplies."
Scientists have raised concerns about the speed at which Moscow has worked, giving the regulatory go-ahead for the shot at home and launching mass vaccinations before full trials to test its safety and efficacy have been completed.
Moscow has said Sputnik V is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 based on interim results, but it has yet to release the full dataset for the trials.
Russia filed for the registration of the Sputnik V vaccine in the European Union on Jan. 20, ahead of a review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) next month.