Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received his COVID-19 vaccine in front of TV cameras on Thursday, a move which a spokesman for his AK Party said aimed to alleviate any public doubts about the effectiveness of the shot.

Turkey began administering the shots developed by China’s Sinovac to health workers on Thursday, rolling out a nationwide vaccination programme against a disease that has killed more than 23,000 people in the country. It has so far vaccinated more than 250,000 health workers.

Erdogan received his first dose of the vaccine at the Ankara City Hospital. He arrived with Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who received the first vaccine in the country a day earlier.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital. Erdogan said he and senior members of the AK Party were all getting inoculate; and urged other politicians to endorse the vaccine.

Incoming Vaccines

“The number of vaccines in the first stage is clear. Now, another 25-30 million doses will come in the period ahead. We want to continue this rapidly,” he said, adding that all the incoming vaccines would also be from Sinovac for now.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca speaking after Erdogan left the hospital; said all citizens should get vaccinated when their turn comes.

Early Thursday, health workers in Turkey launched the first phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.

First Person

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Wednesday became the first person to receive the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine in the country.

According to data from the Health Ministry, Turkey has 1.1 million health workers who will be vaccinated within a month.

Two doses of the vaccine will be administered 28 days apart. Those who recovered from COVID-19 will not be; vaccinated in four to six months following their recovery.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey’s official drug and medical equipment body approved CoronaVac for emergency use against the novel coronavirus.

The first batch of 3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine ordered from China’s SinoVac Biotech arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30