Turkey has vaccinated more than 5 million people with the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd as part of a campaign launched one month ago, Health Ministry data showed on Thursday.
Ankara launched the vaccinations on Jan 14, starting with health workers and the elderly. By Thursday afternoon more than 5.2 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine, data showed. Around 900,000 of them, including senior government officials, had received a second dose.
Turkey plans to vaccinate teachers later this month ahead of a nationwide re-opening of schools on March 1. President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey will begin a gradual return to normal life in March on a province-by-province basis.
Turkey has reported more than 2.6 million infections and some 27,000 deaths from COVID-19 since March, and in December imposed weekend lockdowns, nightly curfews, and other curbs in the face of rising cases.
Despite rapid vaccinations, daily infections have hovered between 6,000 and 8,000, causing concern.