Turkey on Wednesday received its first shipment of a Chinese-made Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, which must now undergo a 14-day test phase before being approved for the population, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
The shipment from the Chinese company Sinovac arrived early on Wednesday in the capital, Ankara, announced Koca on Twitter.
The vaccinations“ will begin as soon as the testing is finalized,’’ he said, adding: “I hope today is the day when hardships end.’’
He did not share how many doses arrived in the first batch.
Turkey had ordered 50 million doses of the Chinese vaccine and plans to purchase additional doses from German pharmaceutical company BioNTech and its U.S. partner Pfizer, Koca said earlier.
Health care employees would be vaccinated first, the minister said, adding that vaccination will not be mandatory for the public.
A total of 310 doctors and nurses have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
Doctors and opposition parties have accused the government of lack of transparency and concealing the scope of the pandemic in the country.
Turkey, which has a population of 83 million, has so far reported a total of 2.17 million infections and 20,388 deaths.
Turkey recently introduced weekend lockdowns and made it mandatory for all passengers to have negative PCR tests before entering the country.