Turkey to get 6.5 million CoronaVac vaccines on Monday

Turkey will receive 6.5 million doses of the Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine on Monday morning, as part of a second planned shipment that allows the nationwide rollout to continue, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday.

"It will reach us in accordance with the procurement plan so that the vaccine programme will continue without interruption," Koca said on Twitter.

Three million doses of CoronaVac, a vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, have already arrived, and 10 million more were expected in total as part of the deal.

The minister’s statement on Sunday comes after Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said it signed a deal with Turkey to produce its vaccine Sputnik V. Russia was the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine on August 11, prompting doubts on its effectiveness by many medical experts for its swift approval.

Discrepancies in separate late-stage trials for CoronaVac have also raised questions on the shot’s efficacy rate.

Last week, Koca said his ministry planned to complete the vaccination of healthcare workers. Turkey will then prioritise vaccinating the elderly, followed by priority staff in the military and security services, teachers, food preparation workers and transport workers, according to the national deployment plan.