Turkey's Erdogan receives COVID-19 vaccine


FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a meeting with European Union Ambassadors?in Ankara, Turkey, January 12, 2021. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received his COVID-19 vaccine in front of TV cameras on Thursday, a move which a spokesman for his AK Party said aimed to alleviate any public doubts about the effectiveness of the shot.

Turkey began administering the shots developed by China's Sinovac to health workers on Thursday, rolling out a nationwide vaccination programme against a disease that has killed more than 23,000 people in the country. It has so far vaccinated more than 250,000 health workers.

Erdogan received his first dose of the vaccine at the Ankara City Hospital. He arrived with Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who received the first vaccine in the country a day earlier.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, Erdogan said he and senior members of the AK Party were all getting inoculated, and urged other politicians to endorse the vaccine.

"The number of vaccines in the first stage is clear. Now, another 25-30 million doses will come in the period ahead. We want to continue this rapidly," he said, adding that all the incoming vaccines would also be from Sinovac for now.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, speaking after Erdogan left the hospital, said all citizens should get vaccinated when their turn comes.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans, Daren Butler, William Maclean)

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