Turkey to administer 30 mln doses of BioNTech jabs in June, says minister

Turkey to administer 30 mln doses of BioNTech jabs in June, says minister

Turkey to administer 30 mln doses of BioNTech jabs in June, says minister

Turkey will administer 30 million doses of the Pzifer/BioNTech vaccines to 30 million people in June, the country’s health minister has said.

The country is expected to receive those doses at the end of May or in early June.

Previously, Turkey had kept the delivered Pfizer/BioNTech jabs to be administered as second dose. This time round, however, it will not resort to this practice.

“We will administer those 30 million doses to 30 million people. The first dose of this jab provides up to 78 percent protection against COVID-19. We will try to benefit from this protection and this will be a significant gain for us,” Fahrettin Koca told daily Hürriyet.

According to the minister, everyone aged over 20 will be vaccinated in June.

In a tweet on May 22, Koca reminded that the country has made deals to receive 100 million doses of Sinovac, 120 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and 50 million doses of Sputnik vaccines. Those 270 million doses of the vaccines are more than three times the country’s population, Koca noted.

Turkey has access to enough jabs, he said.

“If people get their shots when their turn comes, the devastating effect of the pandemic will come to an end this summer,” Koca wrote on Twitter.

Turkey has administered more than 27.8 million doses of vaccines since it rolled out its inoculation program in mid-January. Nearly 16 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine while some 12 million people have been given both doses.

The minister also hailed the decline in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, saying that the efforts made and the patience the country has been showing are bearing fruits.

According to data from the Health Ministry, the daily infections declined to below 9,000 in recent days from record highs of 60,000 cases in mid-April.

Recently, Koca voiced optimism that the decline in the number of infections was expected to continue in the period ahead.

On a related note, Deputy Health Minister Tolga Toluay said 95 percent of the virus cares detected in Turkey are the U.K. variant of COVID-19.

Screenings for other possible virus strains are continuing, Toluay said.

The positivity rates in virus tests have declined to around 5 percent from 20 percent, thanks to the recent lockdown, he noted.