Sinovac virus vaccine has no serious side effects, say Turkish experts
People who have received the Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 have not developed any serious side effects, Turkish experts have said, as the country is further expanding the scope of its inoculation program.
To date, nearly 3.2 million have been administered the injection, mostly health care workers and the elderly.
Some 3 million people have received their first dose of the vaccine while another 250,000 — health workers — got the second shot since the country rolled out its inoculation drive on Jan. 14.
People aged 65 and above as well as their spouses over 60 started being vaccinated on Feb. 12.
The vaccine is administered in two doses and 28 days apart and those who recovered from COVID-19 will not be vaccinated in four to six months following their recovery.
“A unit at the Health Ministry is monitoring the possible side effects of the vaccine and the screenings carried out so far have indicated that people are showing any serious reactions to the jab,” Professor Sema Kultufan Turan from the Health Ministry’s Science Board told daily Hürriyet.
She noted that even those who contracted COVID-19 after the vaccination are suffering from only mild cases of the infection.
The vaccine appears to boost the immune system response, Kultufan added.
“We are also observing small groups of people who get the shot at our university. The side effects of the injection are rather negligible. People mostly have pain in the arm or headaches,” said Professor Pınar Okyay from the Science Board.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that Turkey aims to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population against COVID-19.
He also unveiled that more than 260 U.K. variants, over 20 South Africa variants, and at least 106 variants with unknown origins have been detected in Turkey to date.
Professor Mehmet Ceyhan, a leading expert in infectious diseases, warned that the public’s reluctance over getting vaccinated presents a challenge.
“Turkey can easily secure 100 million doses of the vaccine and we have the capacity to carry out the vaccinations in a very effective way. But people’s reluctance to be vaccinated is a serious problem,” Ceyhan told daily Milliyet.
“It should be considered a great success if we could administer 10 million doses out of the 100 million doses of the injections Turkey is set to get,” Ceyhan said.
A survey commissioned by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in January showed that 48 percent of the respondents declared that they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine.