| 12 April 2024, Friday |

Turkey begins administering Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots

ANKARA: Turkey on Friday started administering Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 doses, introducing a second vaccine in its campaign that kicked off in mid-January, as new infections reached record highs.

Turkey has so far delivered 16.5 million vaccine doses nationwide, including over 7 million people who have received a second dose of the shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

The rollout has so far included those over 60 years of age, health personnel and other priority groups.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday that a total of 2.8 million shots of the Pfizer vaccine have arrived in Turkey, with that number expected to reach 4.5 million in the next days.

Koca said people can choose which vaccine they would like to receive when their turn comes, noting that the aim is to inoculate a majority of the population by June.

Emre Yavuz said he and his wife received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine because their daughter studies in Europe, which he said may not allow in those who receive the Sinovac vaccine.

“There is a debate in the European Union about whether to accept this (Sinovac) or not. Therefore, I chose this to be on the safe side,” he said, after receiving his first vaccine dose at the Ankara City Hospital.

Turkey recently imposed new weekend lockdowns in most provinces, as COVID-19 cases reached all-time highs nationwide. On Thursday, 40,806 new cases were registered, the highest level since the beginning of the global pandemic.

The total number of cases stood at 3.358 million as of Thursday, with the death toll at 31,713.

Turkey currently ranks fifth globally for daily cases based on a 7-day average, according to a Reuters tally.

  • Reuters