Turkey vaccinates half a million people in first two days

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Turkey has vaccinated more than 500,000 people in the first two days of administering COVID-19 shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, health ministry data showed on Friday, among the speediest rollouts globally.

Ankara launched the nationwide programme on Thursday, vaccinating health workers first, and inoculated more than 285,000 people on the first day. By Noon on Friday, more than 520,000 people received the jab.

The government has said the rapid pace has been helped by a nationwide distribution of the vaccines at the start of the week, and also by digitised health records and hospital services.

“We are an experienced country in implementing nationwide inoculation programmes. Our infrastructure is more than capable of conducting this programme in a controlled way. We will win the battle with the pandemic together,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.

According to the Our World in Data website, some 2.69 million people have been inoculated in Britain and 2.16 million in Israel. In Russia, the RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday 1.5 million Russians had been inoculated with the Sputnik V vaccine.

Indonesia, which is also using the Sinovac shot, has inoculated 15,301 people over the past two days, a senior health ministry official there said. The official rollout began Wednesday, but medical workers and selected public workers were injected on Thursday and Friday.

Worldwide trials of the Sinovac shot have shown wide-ranging efficacy rates, leading to some criticism.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received his first dose of the vaccine in Ankara on Thursday and urged other politicians to endorse the programme, calling on Turks to ignore criticism of the CoronaVac shot.

Turkey has reported more than 2.3 million COVID-19 infections and 23,000 deaths since March. After a month of weekend lockdowns and nightly curfews, the number of daily cases has fallen below 9,000, with a daily death toll of 170.

via Reuters

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