Turkey has started to administer its homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidate to volunteers at a major hospital in the capital Ankara as part of the jab's Phase 3 clinical trials to compare its efficacy to that of the Chinese-developed CoronaVac shot, the country's top health official announced on July 16.
The anti-COVID vaccine also offers protection against the Delta variant, and without increasing the vaccination rate it will be very difficult to avoid later an increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 virus infections, the head of the National Committee for the Coordination of Vaccination Activities against COVID-19, Valeriu Gheorghita, stated on Wednesday.
Turkey has administered over 46.84 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January, according to official figures released on June 26.
More than 32 million people have received their first doses, while over 14.8 million have been fully vaccinated, showed the Health Ministry count.
Turkey administered more than 16.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in June alone, accounting for more than a third of all jabs given since the country's inoculation drive was rolled out in mid-January.
To date, nearly 15 million people have been fully vaccinated while over 31 million people have received their first doses of the coronavirus jab.
Turkey on June 23 lowered the COVID-19 vaccination eligibility age to 18, with appointments to be scheduled as of Friday, the country's health minister said.
Addressing a news conference after a meeting of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, Fahrettin Koca said Turkey aims to vaccinate 55 million people with at least one shot by mid-July.
Turkey has administered over 27 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since the launch of a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, according to official figures.
As of May 22, more than 15.87 million people have received their first doses, while over 11.87 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry data.