Turkey drops age eligibility for vaccine to 30 as 5 mln more doses of Sinovac arrive

Turkey received 5 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday, as the country’s age of eligibility for a coronavirus vaccinedropped to 30 years and older.

Turkey’s latest batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrives as the country has stepped up efforts in its vaccination drive this week, with more than 1 million injections a day being administered since Monday, according to Health Ministry data.

Turkey has administered over 40.85 million coronavirus vaccine doses since launching a nationwide drive in mid-January, state-run TRT news reported on Saturday.

Turkey administers the Sinovac, Pfizer and Biontech vaccines, while the country's Health Ministry has also issued an emergency use authorization for the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Meanwhile, the country has droppedCOVID-19 vaccine age eligibilityto 30, the country’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Saturday. 

With the latest procurement of vaccines, the age eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to drop to the 20s within this month, TRT reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday said that easing of restrictions in countries like Germany and Russia - home to Turkey’s top visitors - could provide a major boost to the country’s ailing industry.

“Countries that are critical for our tourism sector have started easing travel restrictions. As of Tuesday, God willing, Russia is lifting the ban,” BirGün newspaper cited Erdoğan as telling members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in southern Antalya province.

Erdoğan said that tourists from Russia would begin “pouring into Antalya.’’

“Germany has lifted (measures) too. There are some issues with Britain, but I met with (Prime Minister) Boris Johnson and, God willing, they will also lift restrictions,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey’s vital tourism industry has been hard hit for the second summer in a row due to international travel restrictions. But Ankara is hoping to give the sector a late start to the season if the COVID-19 vaccination pace is maintained and daily infections, which number around 6,000 a day, are contained.

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