coronavirus vaccine by Chinese company Sinovac

First doses of coronavirus vaccine to arrive tomorrow

Turkey will receive 20 million doses of the Chinese vaccine from now to January. 70% of Turks want to be vaccinated.

The shipment with the first doses of the Chinese vaccine against the coronavirus – a total of 3 million doses – is scheduled to land tomorrow in Turkey, transported aboard a flight of Turkish Airlines from Beijing that will land in Istanbul, from where they will be transferred to Ankara.

The plane, a Boeing 777 that will carry a total of 17 cargo containers, is scheduled to land at Istanbul Airport at 6:10 a.m. local time (4:10 CET) on December 30. Earlier this month, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that Turkey would buy 50 million doses of the vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, 20 million of which will be delivered before the end of January 2021.

Koca, who has ensured that for now the new strain of the coronavirus that emerged in the UK has not been detected in Turkey, also announced just a few days ago an agreement to purchase 30 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. Turkish scientists are working meanwhile on 8 different vaccines, one of which is already in phase III.

Should the coronavirus vaccine be mandatory?

As Turkey prepares to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, debates are emerging in the country – especially on social media – about what to do with those who do not want to get the vaccine; and although the authorities have already said that it will be voluntary, some voices – including among experts – claim that vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 should be mandatory, or at least that access to certain public services should be limited to those who refuse to get it.

In the midst of this growing debate in the country, a recent survey conducted by the sociological studies company Genar points to a majority confidence of Turkish citizens in the coronavirus vaccine. According to the president of the company, Ihsan Aktaş, the positive opinion of the Turkish public towards the vaccine has increased from 50% to 70%, and continues to grow.

70% of Turks trust the vaccine

“People are increasingly aware of the disease and the measures that have been taken to prevent its spread. Our first question in the survey was if they were afraid of being infected, 70.7% of the participants answered yes,” he explained.

“We also see a decrease in the number of people who do not take the pandemic seriously, who believe it was caused by a virus created in a laboratory, or who think that the pandemic has been exaggerated,” he said.

“Public opinion knows that the virus is really dangerous, and that it could become even more dangerous if the measures are not maintained. Interestingly, the percentage of people who are afraid of the virus is practically the same as of those who are willing to be vaccinated” Aktaş said.

Turkey is scheduled to receive 3 million doses of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine in tomorrow’s shipment; initially the plan was for the first shipment to arrive on Monday morning, but it was delayed at the last minute due to a COVID-19 case detected at Beijing customs.