Upon the question of whether 3 thousand volunteers were found for TURKOVAC trials, Minister Koca said that they still needed volunteers and added: "As of today, we have 1000 volunteers. I would like to ask everyone to be a part. The trial is conducted at 41 centers. This vaccine is our strength. I invite everyone to volunteer."
Noting that the trial stage should be finished with volunteers before getting the emergency use authorization, Koca said: "The earlier we finish the trial, the earlier we can start mass production."
With regard to random PCR testing at schools, Minister Koca said that the results were out and that they wanted to repeat this together with the Ministry of National Education. Koca added:“In the screening, we found that the rate is not very high in school-aged children. At some schools, the rate ranged between 1.1 and 5.9. I want to reiterate that there is no need to get concerned. There is no possibility that the schools willl close, so, such a question should no longer be asked. What I mean is that, schools will not be closed due to the pandemic. Tedbirler devreye girebilir ama okulların kapanma durumu salgın nedeniyle olamaz. The Scientific Committee also has no such agenda.”
The third dose
When asked by journalists about when the third dose of the vaccine will be given, Koca said that the third dose of the vaccine had already started and continued ,“Tomorrow one agenda item of the Scientific Committee will be this. We will discuss tomorrow when and for whom it will be kicked off. When we make a decision, we will inform the public after the Committee meeting."
Premarital SMA screening
With regard to premarital SMA screening, Koca noted that all resources were mobilized for SMA patients and that they paid great attention to its early diagnosis.
Stressing that premarital screening for SMA was of great importance, Minister Koca noted:"We will kick this off soon in Turkey. We have already kicked off the tendering process. I believe it will be concluded in a few weeks. Soon, premarital SMA screening will be available country-wide.
With regard to lockdown, Koca noted once again that the schools would not be closed and added:"There will not be a lockdown. But people must keep on taking personal precautions, exercising social distancing, and getting vaccinated. Because unless we achieve herd immunity, this pandemic will not be easy to overcome. Due to the existence of variants, we need a herd immunity at a level of 80 to 85%. We need at least 70-80% immunity. Where are we now? Around 59% of the population has received two doses. Around 67% has received the first dose. It is obvious that this rate must be increased. We do not want anyone over the age of 60 who are unvaccinated. We see that around 80% of those who die at intensive care units are over the age of 60. Those with underlying diseases should especially get vaccinated. Our goal should be to achieve herd immunity. Not a lockdown."
Reminding of a circular about the working hours of physicians, Koca noted that they were aware of the workload of residents. Koca added:"I would like to note that we will introduce reform-like changes for the residency process in general. Including the exams, the training, and working conditions. We are determined to put our vision into reality with the help of all relevant stakeholders, and members of academia. I have been through such tough times, as well. I know what it means to work a 24-hour, 36-hour shift. All of us have experienced that. But this is the 21st century. We have a lot to do. We will introduce some novelties including about the exam system, and working conditions."