Turkey is preparing to roll out mass COVID-19 vaccinations

Turkey is preparing to roll out its massive COVID-19 vaccination program as the analysis of the injections brought from China is expected to be completed this week.

The first party of 3 million doses of the injection, produced by Sinovac, arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30, 2020 and local laboratories immediately launched 14-day-long tests of the jab.

As soon as the vaccine passes the tests, it will be approved for emergency use.

The vaccination program, which will be carried out in four stages, will start with health care workers and the most vulnerable.

The country’s hospitals are also making preparations for the inoculation drive and the vehicles equipped with coolers, which will distribute the vaccines to 81 provinces, are standing ready.

Hospitals are setting up “vaccination rooms” inside their premises as instructed by the Health Ministry.

The coronavirus vaccines will be administered to the public in two doses, 28 days apart.

Hospitals with more than 1,000 beds are required to have at least 25 such rooms.

People arriving at the hospitals for the shot will be directed to the vaccination rooms without any contact with patients at the facilities.

The public will be vaccinated based on individual appointments.

Appointments will be arranged with hospitals and family health centers through the e-Nabız (e-Pulse), an application run by the Health Ministry, and the Central Physician Appointment System.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously said that the vaccination program would include public, private, and university hospitals.

Turkey signed a deal to buy 50 million doses of the Chine vaccines and reached an agreement to obtain the vaccine developed jointly by Germany-based BioNTech and Pfizer.

Some 4.5 million doses of the BioNTech/Prizer are expected to arrive by the end of March. Turkey could have access to up to 30 million doses as part of the deal, but the government wants to increase the amount of the vaccine allocated to Turkey.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced recently that Ankara and Moscow agreed to organize a joint production of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

Turkey is also working to develop its own vaccine against COVID-19.

Local scientists are hoping to start human trials of a locally developed virus-like particles (VLP)-based vaccine by the end of January, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said last week.

Only one VLP-based injection has made it to phase one in the world, and the Turkish jab will be the second, according to Varank.

Primarily, a facility that has a production capacity of 50 million doses is being established, the minister added.

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