Turkey expects to receive the first shipment of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine during May, said the country’s health minister on Friday.
“So far, Turkey administered nearly 23 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and we currently have 6 million doses still on hand,” said Fahrettin Koca at a news conference in the Mediterranean Antalya province.
The 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines include Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines, according to Koca.
Turkey also recently announced that the time between the two doses of the BioNtech vaccine had been extended up to six to eight weeks.
Commenting on the matter, Koca said the decision of the Coronavirus Scientific Committee was “misunderstood.”
“First of all, this decision is a scientific one, taken by examining concrete evidence-based data and based on scientific reasons,” he added.
Recalling that the country has approved the emergency use of the Sputnik V vaccine on Friday, Koca said Turkey expects to receive 50 million doses of the vaccine in a six-month period and the first shipment to be received in May.
“Administering of this vaccine will begin in the country as soon as possible,” he added.
Telling that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be much more frequent in June, the Turkish minister said: “We are determined to vaccinate our citizens aged 40 and over by June at the latest. We are aiming to vaccinate everyone aged 18 and over as of this summer.”
On the latest 17-day lockdown, which began in Turkey on Thursday, Koca said citizens are adapting to the “tightened measures, we are very pleased with this situation.”
Since starting a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign in mid-January, Turkey has administered over 22.8 million jabs. More than 13.7 million people have received their first doses, while 9.1 million have been fully vaccinated.