The number of people in Turkey who have taken their first shot of CoronaVac, an imported inactive vaccine, reached 2.08 million on Monday. Health care workers were the first to get the shots on Jan. 14.
Elderly citizens are currently being inoculated at hospitals and clinics all across the country while crews from the Health Ministry are visiting the homes of those unable to get to their designated inoculation location.
The country received 3 million doses of CoronaVac, developed by China’s Sinovac, on Dec. 30 and a second shipment last month. The vaccines were analyzed at Health Ministry laboratories and received emergency use approval. They were later distributed to 81 provinces in trucks fitted with cold chain storage devices to ensure their safety against being spoiled.
The age limit is gradually dropping in line with the vaccination plan. People aged 75 and above began being inoculated on Jan. 28 and that age will be lowered as more jabs are delivered. The Health Ministry set up vaccination rooms in every hospital and neighborhood clinics across the country and appointments are required, online or through a ministry hotline, to prevent crowding.
CoronaVac was the first vaccine Turkey imported. The government plans to acquire more from Sinovac and is in talks with other companies for the acquisition of more vaccines.
Turkey is continuing to create domestic vaccines, none of which are inactive as they are easier to develop. They are expected to be available for approval and then used later this year. Three Turkish vaccine candidates are set to start phase trials soon. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Turkey has the third-largest number of COVID-19 vaccine projects in the world, behind only the U.S. and China, authorities say.