Turkey to receive virus vaccines in batches, say experts
Turkey will receive COVID-19 vaccines in batches by the end of February, an expert has said.
“Some 7 million doses of the coronavirus injection will be delivered to Turkey by the end of January, so that we will have some 10 million doses ready. In total, 30 million and 50 million doses are expected to arrive by the end of February,” Professor Ateş Kara from the Health Ministry’s Science Board told daily Hürriyet.
The first batch of 3 million doses of the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine ordered from the Chinese firm Sinovac arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30.
The timing of the next delivery of the injections will become clear in the coming days, said Professor Sema Kultufan Turan.
Turkey rolled out its massive COVID-19 vaccination program on Jan. 14 starting with health care workers, immediately after the country’s official drug and medical equipment body approved the jab for emergency use following a 14-day test period.
According to data from the Health Ministry, Turkey has 1.1 million health workers who will be vaccinated within a month.
Two doses of vaccines will be administered 28 days apart.
On the first day of the vaccination drive, more than 300,000 health care workers got the shot. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and several members of the Science Board were the first ones to get vaccinated. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also later in the day also received his COVID-19 vaccine in front of TV cameras at the Ankara City Hospital.
Erdoğan urged other politicians and lawmakers to follow suit to encourage the public to get vaccinated.
Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Jan. 15 received the first dose of the coronavirus injection. “Upon the invitation of the Health Minister, I, too, got vaccinated. I call on every member of the to get the shot,” Bahçeli wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo while getting inoculated.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on Jan. 15 that Koca called him regarding the vaccination.
“I accepted Koca’s invitation to get the shot,” Kılıçdaroğlu told a radio channel, adding that the health minister said he could accompany him when receiving the jab.
Turkey will conduct the vaccinations in four stages.
In the first stage along with health care staff, people over the age of 65, the elderly, disabled, adults living in crowded places, and those living at nursing homes will receive vaccine jabs.
In the second stage, essential workers and those with at least one chronic disease will be vaccinated.
In the third stage, citizens under the age of 50 with at least one chronic disease, young adults, those working in sectors and professions which are not included in the first two stages will be vaccinated.
In the fourth and last stage, all individuals other than the first three groups will be vaccinated.
Those who recovered from COVID-19 will not be vaccinated until four to six months.
COVID-19 has infected nearly 2.4 million people in Turkey to date with the death toll from the disease nearing 26,000.