Turkey starts COVID-vaccination

Turkey starts COVID-vaccination

Turkey has started the COVID-vaccination campaign today with health care staff.

"It's our top priority to run the vaccination program in a transparent manner," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

"Vaccines were delivered to the public health depots of 81 provinces," he said, adding that "today is the first day of a new era."

Each individual will be assigned vaccine doses by name with a barcode, Koca added, saying: "We're determined to administer the vaccine and comply with measures and restrictions until the pandemic comes to an end."

"I want you to be sure that the vaccine will be distributed fairly and that there will be no other practice other than the priority set by the [Coronavirus] Scientific Board. People who will be vaccinated in accordance with the acquisition plan will be notified when it is their turn and will go to get their vaccinations by appointment."

Koca became the first person in Turkey to receive the recently delivered Chinese COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac. Following the minister, the committee members were vaccinated, as well.

Yesterday, Turkey's official drug and medical equipment body approved a Chinese vaccine for emergency use against the novel coronavirus.

Following evaluations of the doses, the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) announced that it had authorized the vaccine known as CoronaVac which was developed by Beijing-based company SinoVac, Anadolu Agency reported.

"While evaluating the scientific data, samples that were delivered to our country have been examined in our institution's laboratories over 14 days," the TITCK said in a statement, adding that the vaccine would swiftly be delivered to the public.

Three million doses of the vaccine produced by SinoVac reached Turkey on Dec. 30 and were transferred to a medical storage facility of the Health Ministry. Samples of the vaccine were then taken to a laboratory of TITCK for a testing period of 14 days.