Ankara is receiving 50 million doses of the SinoVac vaccine and also plans to purchase up to 30 million doses of German-based BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine.

Photo shows arrival of Sinova vaccines onboard a Turkish airlines flight in Ankara, Turkey, December 30, 2020.
Photo shows arrival of Sinova vaccines onboard a Turkish airlines flight in Ankara, Turkey, December 30, 2020. (AA)

A plane carrying the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines ordered from China's SinoVac Biotech has arrived in Turkey.

The Turkish Airlines plane carrying vaccines landed on Wednesday at Esenboga Airport in the capital Ankara at 5.44 am (0244 GMT). The aircraft was carrying three million doses that will be used to immunise 1.5 million people.

Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that Ankara will be receiving 50 million doses of the SinoVac vaccine and that the first 20 million doses will be delivered during December and January.

“The plane that brought our vaccines has arrived at Esenboga Airport. Tests will begin in Turkey Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Institution. As soon as the tests are completed, our vaccination program will be carried out under the coordination of the General Directorate of Public Health. We will succeed together,” Koca said.

The minister also announced that the country will purchase up to 30 million doses of another vaccine developed by German-based biotech firm BioNTech.

Vaccinations will not be mandatory for now, and Turkey aims to convince the public about the necessity of vaccination against the coronavirus, making mass vaccination possible.

READ MORE: Covid-19 case in China customs delays vaccine delivery to Turkey

Turkey aims to produce Sputnik V

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey aims to produce Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine domestically but has asked for more information about it before inoculating its citizens.

Russia has announced several international deals for the supply of Sputnik V, named after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race in a nod to the project's geopolitical importance for Moscow.

"During the cabinet meeting yesterday [Monday], our health minister said this information had started to come from Russia and that everything was on the right track," Cavusoglu said.

"The aim of this cooperation is not only for vaccine supply but... for this vaccine to be produced in Turkey as well."

READ MORE: How Turkey plans to administer Covid-19 vaccines

Turkey's Covid-19 data 

On Tuesday, Turkey reported 15,805 new coronavirus cases and 253 fatalities, taking the death toll to 20,388 deaths. Over 2 million people have recovered from the disease so far.

There are currently more than 2.17 million confirmed cases in the country.

The virus has claimed more than 1.79 million lives in around 200 countries and regions since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December last year, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Over 82 million people have been infected with the virus and more than 46.2 million have recovered from the disease.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies