Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received the first dose of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine, hours after the country began its inoculation drive with the health workers first in line.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives CoronaVac vaccine in Ankara City Hospital on January 14, 2021.
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives CoronaVac vaccine in Ankara City Hospital on January 14, 2021. (AA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received the first dose of CoronaVac's Covid-19 vaccine, as the country began its nationwide inoculation campaign with healthcare workers first in line. 

"I got vaccinated as well," Erdogan told Telegram social network at Ankara City Hospital on Thursday.

“As part of our successful vaccination program, 254,000 healthcare workers have had their first dose of vaccines so far. I have also joined them and received the vaccine. We aim to vaccinate all our citizens in a very short time.”

President Erdogan will receive his second dose of vaccine after 28 days.

Earlier, the health workers started receiving their first doses, a day after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca became the first person in Turkey to get a shot of CoronaVac outside of the country's trials of the vaccine.

Each individual will be assigned vaccine doses by name and a barcode, Koca said after a Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board meeting in the capital Ankara on Wednesday. 

"We're determined to administer the vaccine and comply with measures and restrictions until the pandemic comes to an end."

"I want you to be sure that the vaccine will be distributed fairly and that there will be no other practice other than the priority set by the [Coronavirus] Scientific Board," the health minister said.

"People who will be vaccinated in accordance with the plan will be notified when it is their turn and will go to get their vaccinations by appointment," Koca added.

"I want to underline that everyone must be vaccinated. We must definitely get the vaccine to return to our normal daily lives."

The advisory board will be vaccinated as well.

Emergency use approval

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey's official drug and medical equipment body approved CoronaVac for emergency use against the novel coronavirus.

Three million doses of the vaccine produced by Sinovac reached Turkey on December 30, and were transferred to a medical storage facility of the Health Ministry. 

Samples of the vaccine were then taken to a laboratory of TITCK for a testing period of 14 days.

READ MORE: First batch of China's Sinovac vaccines arrives in Turkey

Turkey sends vaccines to Northern Cyprus

Turkey sent 20,000 doses of the vaccine to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

“20,000 thousand doses of Sinovac vaccine arrived in our country at 5 am [0300 GMT] in the morning by air ambulance from the Republic of Turkey,” TRNC Health Minister Ali Pilli said in a statement.

Pilli said his country is planning to start vaccination on Thursday and Saturday.

“We have prepared our plan for vaccination, in the first phase they will be done in nine centres,” he said, noting the first ones to get vaccinated are the health professionals.

He said following the health workers, people aged 65 and over will get the vaccine.

“We are a small country but we will easily overcome this,” Pilli said. 

TRNC has a population of 326,000 people, according to a 2017 census.

READ MORE: Turkish scientists and doctor develop rapid diagnostic tests for Covid-19

Source: AA