ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday that the country had received about 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech in the last two days, the first consignments to arrive apart from test samples.
BioNTech developed the vaccine together with Pfizer Inc.
The minister said on Twitter that 5,800 doses had arrived last week for testing purposes, followed by 750,000 on Tuesday and 700,000 on Wednesday. After the testing process, the first doses will be administered to citizens next week, he said.
Turkey recorded nearly 30,000 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest level this year, health ministry data showed on Wednesday. Case numbers have continued to rise sharply after measures to curb the pandemic were eased this month.
Turkey has until now been using COVID-19 shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and it has carried out 14.13 million inoculations, with 8.15 million people now having received a first dose, since Jan. 14 when the nationwide rollout began.
(Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by Hugh Lawson)