Turkey to receive first shipment of Chinese vaccine tomorrow
Vaccines will be delivered to Istanbul Airport first, then the capital Ankara, according to the flag carrier.
The Boeing 777 type of plane, with 17 containers of vaccines, is expected to land at Istanbul Airport at 6.10 a.m. local time (GMT0310) on Dec. 30.
The vaccine was expected to arrive in Turkey on Dec. 28, but its delivery had to be postponed for “one or two days” because of a case of the coronavirus at Beijing customs, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said over the weekend.
Turkey signed an agreement to buy 50 million doses of the Chinese vaccine.
Koca previously said that the first 20 million doses of the injection would be delivered during December and January 2021.
Last week, the minister also announced a deal with BioNTech, which developed a coronavirus vaccine jointly with Pfizer.
Under the agreement, initially, 550,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer injection will be sent to Turkey by the end of the year or early 2021 at the latest, Koca said.
Around 4.5 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to the country by the end of March 2021.
“There is no way Turkey would fall behind on vaccine supply and development efforts and will carry out the normalization process together with the whole world,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 28.
For this purpose, all efforts to develop vaccines, regardless of their origin, are being closely monitored, he added.
“We are committed to providing more than one vaccine of our own production to the service of our nation as soon as possible,” the president said.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey is placing the main importance and priority on its own vaccines, which are being develop with both traditional and innovative methods.
“One of them has reached the final stage. Some of the others are about to reach the same stage,” the president said.
He urged the public to continue to follow protective measures to fight the pandemic.
Weeknight curfews and full lockdowns on weekends have been in place for some time in Turkey as part of a raft of measures introduced to bring the outbreak under control.