Istanbul: Turkey has started to roll out its first locally developed Covid-19 vaccine Turkovac, while the Omicron variant becomes widespread across the country.
Turkey rolled out its first indegenous Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Wednesday said that the vaccine would be available at city hospitals and citizens could have their booster doses with Turkovac no matter what their previous vaccinations were, Xinhua news agency reported.
Istanbul’s Cam and Sakura city hospital has been observing quite a busy day with people flocking to have their shots with Turkovac, the Deputy Director of the hospital told Xinhua.
The hospital officials expect to administer 1,000 doses of Turkovac during the day.
Turkey launched its mass vaccination program against Covid-19 in January 2021 with the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac company, and it later introduced jabs from Pfizer or BioNTech in the drive.
Over 131 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country to date, and the vaccination rate of people aged 18 years and above who have got two vaccine shots surpassed 83 per cent, the latest data of the Health Ministry revealed.
However, despite the high vaccination rate, the daily new Covid-19 cases have been following an upward trend for the last week, increasing from 18,000 to more than 36,000 on Wednesday.
According to the Turkish Health Minister, the main reason behind the hike in the number of cases was the increase in the time spent indoors and the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Koca added that the increase of the daily cases has not yet been reflected in the hospitalisation rate, calling on people to urgently get their booster jabs.