Turkey plans to start administering third dose of COVID vaccine in July
To date, more than 14 million people in Turkey, which has a population of around 84 million, have already been given both doses of the coronavirus injection, while over 27.4 million people have received their first doses.
According to the plans under consideration, the administration of the first dose of vaccine will complete by the end of August.
The vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceuticals company Sinovac is the likely candidate to be given as the third dose, but people will be offered a choice to choose another vaccine.
Turkey is presently using both the Sinovac and the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs in its inoculation drive rolled out in mid-January.
The vaccination program will be extended to cover everyone aged above 18 in the second half of July, and officials are working on plans on how to proceed with the inoculations of unemployed people and students.
Turkey has accelerated vaccinations lately. Nearly 8 million doses of the coronavirus jabs were administered last week alone. Officials are looking for ways to help them further ramp up the inoculations.
As part of those plans, pharmacies may be added to the drive to give the COVID-19 jabs to the citizens. Recently, mobile units were set up to give shots to people working in the organized industrial zones, and also vaccination sites were launched in some shopping centers.
“Vaccine supply has become stable. We do not have problems regarding the health staff who administer the jabs. Arrange an appointment to get your shots,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on June 20.
Last week, Koca warned that people coming to health centers for vaccinations without an appointment slowed the speed of inoculations.
Meanwhile, the health minister held an online meeting with officials from Sinovac and invited the company to invest in Turkey for vaccine production.
“We are ready to provide all support for a possible investment in our country. We attach great importance to the joint production of COVID-19, influenza and hepatitis A. I also believe we can devise a cooperation model for the vaccine for which Turkey is currently conducting the phase 3 trials,” Koca said during the meeting.
Sinovac officials welcomed the investment invitation and said that a technical team might be sent to Turkey for preliminary studies.