Turkey to begin COVID-19 vaccinations by Friday at latest, says Erdoğan

Turkey will begin administering coronavirus vaccines by Friday at the latest, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday, when he also announced a possible lifting of pandemic measures based on a decrease in daily infections.

Turkey’s vaccination programme will begin Thursday or Friday in line with government plans, T24 cited Erdoğan told reporters following a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

Turkey received 3 million of an agreed 50 million doses of Chinese Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine before Christmas. The country has also agreed to purchase  4.5 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with an option to procure 30 million more doses in the future.

"(The Turkish health minister) says that our campaign will start Thursday or Friday ,’’ Erdoğan said.  "But the most important development is efforts for our own vaccine.’’

"We will be gradually lifting restrictions when the number of cases fall below a certain number,’’ he added, but stopped short of providing the figure. "It is mandatory that every individual carefully maintains their own precautions.’’ 

Turkey announced a series of new measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 in November amid a surge in infections.

The country on Monday reported over 10,220 new coronavirus infections while the death toll rose by 174 over the last 24 hours to reach 22,981.