Turkey on Thursday began the inoculation of the second doses of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines for healthcare workers.
The nationwide vaccination rollout in Turkey started on January 14, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Nurettin Yiyit, chief physician of the Feriha Oz Emergency Hospital and Ilhan Varank Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul, said Turkey decided to give a 28-day break between the two shots as phase studies have revealed that two doses of vaccination provide better protection against coronavirus.
“This period provided a good opportunity for us to observe the efficacy of the first dose,” Yiyit told Xinhua, while supervising the inoculation process at Ilhan Varank Hospital.
A total of 4,500 people have received their first shots so far in the two hospitals, and no Covid-19 case has been observed among them, according to the chief physician.
“If the protection obtained after the second dose will disappear in a certain time, then we may need to give a reminder dose,” he said.
Speaking of the new strains detected in countries such as Britain, Brazil and South Africa, Yiyit said Turkey’s confidence in Sinovac’s inactive vaccine is high, and the scientific information coming each day supports this.
Zeynep Koc, a nurse at Ilhan Varank Hospital, said that she has been taking care of Covid-19 patients since the start of the pandemic in Turkey in March last year, and she couldn’t see her family because of the infection risk.
“The vaccine will certainly create antibodies after the second dose, and as soon as I will find out this, I will go and see my family,” Koc said, noting vaccination is the only condition for the pandemic to end.
Tahir Katirlu, a hospital janitor, also said he is dealing with Covid-19 patients all the time.
“I encourage everyone to get their vaccines done. I hope we get through this pandemic,” he said.
Turkish citizens over 70 also started to get their first doses from Thursday.
Over 2.8 million Turks have been vaccinated since the start of the vaccination program, according to the health ministry.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that Turkey aims to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population.