Turkey receives second batch of 6.5 million doses of virus vaccine
Turkey on Jan. 25 received 6.5 million more doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac as the country is already inoculating the public under its mass injection program.
A Turkish Airlines flight from Beijing, carrying the coronavirus injections, landed in Istanbul Airport at around 6:15 a.m. local time.
Turkey received the initial consignment of 3 million doses on Dec. 30, 2020, and the country rolled out its vaccination program on Jan. 14 after the vaccines were tested in local laboratories for 14 days.
The latest batch of 6.5 million doses of the inactive COVID-19 vaccine were brought in the first part of the second shipment of 10 million doses.
The local authorities will also test the new shipment before they are administered.
Over 1.23 million people, mostly health workers and the elderly, have been inoculated since the injection drive began.
As part of the inoculation program, people aged above 80 started to be vaccinated today. They will receive the first dose of the vaccine at health institutions.
The jab is administered in two doses, 28 days apart.
Ankara has agreed to buy 50 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine and is in talks with other developers, including BioNTech/Pfizer for supplies.
Last week, a Turkish company announced an agreement to produce Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in Turkey.
The vaccination against the coronavirus is not mandatory in Turkey, but politicians and officials are strongly urging people to get the jab.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca as well as members of the Health Ministry’s Science Board were among the first to be vaccinated to boost public confidence in the vaccine.
In the second stage of the inoculation program, essential workers and those with at least one chronic disease will be vaccinated.
Citizens under the age of 50 with at least one chronic disease and young adults will get the shot in the third stage and the rest of the population will be inoculated in the final stage.
Even though it rolled out its injection drive, Turkey is still implementing tight measures to keep the outbreak under control, including weeknight curfews and full lockdowns on weekends.
Figures from the Health Ministry show that those restrictions are paying off. The number of daily coronavirus cases dropped to below 6,000 recently from a record high of more than 33,000 infections recorded in early December 2020.
Millions of people once again spent the weekend under lockdown, which lasted from 9 a.m. on Jan. 22 to 5 a.m. on Jan. 25.
Some 28,000 people violated the curfews and weekend lockdown between Jan. 18 and Jan. 25 across Turkey, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that the public largely complied with the restrictions.