Top Turkish doctor calls for more vaccines as COVID-19 infections reach record high

A top Turkish doctor has called for more jabs to speed up the vaccination process after the country’s daily COVID-19 cases reached a record high.

Turkey recorded 63,082 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the highest total since the pandemic began, according to the Health Ministry.

COVID-19 infections have surged after the government eased lockdown measures on March 1, when daily cases stood at less than 10,000. 

Earlier this week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca insisted all citizens over the age of 40 would be vaccinated by the end of June.

However, to achieve this goal Turkey needs more jabs, head of Istanbul Medical Chamber Pınar Saip told independent news outlet Bianet on Friday.  

"Unfortunately, the daily number of vaccinations is currently around 120,000. This process can be accelerated but vaccines need to be delivered quickly,” Saip said.

“Turkey could vaccinate a million people per day if it had enough vaccines,” she added.

A mass vaccination campaign began in mid-January, however authorities have struggled to secure enough supplies to cover the 82 million population, predominantly relying on the Chinese made CoronaVac jab.

A new report released by the Chilean government said CoronaVac was 67% effective in preventing symptomatic infection, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The results were “a potential boost for the jab” following concerns about its efficacy, Reuters said.

Some 12.14 million people in Turkey have received a first doses of vaccine, while 7.78 million second doses have so far been administrated.

Meanwhile, Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank said he had volunteered for clinical trials of the domestically developed VLP vaccine, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. 

The delivery date for Turkey’s other indigenous ERUCOV-VAC jab has been delayed until the summer after being due to roll out this month.