ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s health minister says his country has no plans to make vaccination against the new coronavirus mandatory but will work to convince the public about the safety of the vaccines.
Speaking to reporters following a meeting of the country’s scientific advisory council on Wednesday, Fahrettin Koca also said people who contracted the virus in the past four to six months, children, and pregnant women would not be vaccinated.
Turkey has ordered 50 million doses of the vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, with the first shipment due to arrive in the coming days. Turkey is also engaged in talks to obtain other vaccines and hopes that a Turkish vaccine will be ready for use in April.
Turkey is experiencing a surge in infections with confirmed cases of COVID-19 hovering above 30,000 per day. The country’s death toll since March has topped 15,000.
The government will assess the effectiveness of recently imposed weekend and evening curfews before deciding whether to impose stricter lockdowns, the minister said.
Koca said a total of 216 health workers have died since the start of the outbreak.