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Turkey plans to administer Chinese COVID vaccine to 5 mln people: report

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Turkey plans to start vaccinating people against the novel coronavirus on Dec. 25, administering 450,000 injections daily, according to a news report by the Hürriyet newspaper on Saturday.

A total of 5 million people reportedly will be vaccinated against the virus, with each person receiving two of the 10 million doses of a vaccine developed by China, in line with a plan devised by the Health Ministry.

The ministry, which is currently working on determining who in every district of Turkey who will receive the vaccination as part of the first batch, will start administering the vaccines on Dec. 25 following some 10 days of preparations.

People with chronic diseases and those who are unable to leave their homes will be vaccinated at home, Hürriyet reported, adding that the vaccinations will be administered by healthcare workers from contact tracing teams and family physicians, among others.

The report also said the tracking system used for other vaccinations will also apply to the coronavirus vaccine.

The ministry reportedly sent a notice to healthcare organizations in the country asking them to list the staff members who are eligible to receive the vaccination. Those healthcare workers who will be vaccinated will be selected among workers who have not been infected with COVID-19.

A cold chain system reportedly will be used to transport the vaccines, which can be stored in a freezer between 35°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C) for as long as three years.

Those over 60 years of age will receive the second dose of the vaccine 21 to 30 days after the first one, while others will receive it 14 days after the first dose.

Protection from the Chinese vaccine is expected to last for six to eight months, Hürriyet said, adding that once the country starts administering the first batch of vaccines, the government will start working on procuring new batches.

The phase-3 trials of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, which began on Sept. 15 and include high-risk healthcare workers and medium-risk volunteers, are still ongoing.

According to Worldometers, a reference website that provides counters and real-time statistics for diverse topics, Turkey has moved into eighth place worldwide in terms of the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with a total of 1,780,673 infections as of Dec. 11.

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