Coronavirus: Turkey launches its vaccination campaign

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Istanbul | Turkey launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Thursday by starting to administer the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine to healthcare workers in different parts of the country.

Health workers received the first injection in the morning in several cities, including Istanbul and the capital Ankara.

In Kartal Lutfi Kirdar hospital, on the Asian side of Istanbul, chief physician Recep Demirhan was the first member of the establishment’s medical team to be immunized, according to an AFP photographer on site .

“Our citizens should not worry about vaccination. All the vaccines available in Turkey are safe, ”he said after receiving his shot.

The CoronaVac vaccine, produced by the Chinese company Sinovac, is administered in two doses spaced four weeks apart.

Vaccination in Turkey is open at this stage for healthcare workers who have not contracted COVID-19, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday.

The campaign is expected to expand later to include workers in essential sectors and those over 65.

Mr. Koca was vaccinated Wednesday evening in front of the cameras, followed by members of the Turkish Scientific Council.

“Everyone needs to be vaccinated so that we can go back to our life before. It’s a safe vaccine, ”he said.

Turkey received a first order for the Sinovac vaccine at the end of December, after confirming after initial trials that it was 91.25% effective, despite the absence of official results from phase 3 tests.

This rate is much higher than that announced Tuesday by the Butantan Institute, responsible for the production of this vaccine in Brazil and which ensured that the CoronaVac had shown an overall effectiveness of 50.38% against COVID-19 during tests. clinics.

Indonesia, which began vaccinating on Wednesday with CoronaVac, for its part reported an efficacy rate of 65.3% after phase 3 tests.

In addition to this vaccine, Turkey is in negotiations with the German laboratory BioNTech to buy 4.5 million doses and 30 million more optional of its vaccine produced in collaboration with the American Pfizer.

Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has recorded more than 2.3 million cases of COVID-19, including more than 23,000 fatalities.

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