A plane carrying the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines ordered from China’s SinoVac Biotech is expected to arrive in Turkey early Wednesday. 

“The Turkish Airlines plane carrying our vaccines is expected to arrive at Esenboga Airport [in the capital Ankara] at 5.30 a.m. local time (0230 GMT),” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.

Koca said previously that Turkey will be receiving 50 million doses of the SinoVac vaccine and that the first 20 million doses will be delivered during December and January.

The minister also announced that the country will purchase up to 30 million doses of another vaccine developed by German-based biotech firm BioNTech.

Vaccinations will not be mandatory for now, and Turkey aims to convince the public about the necessity of vaccination against the coronavirus, making mass vaccination possible.

As of Tuesday, Turkey had registered a total of 20,388 deaths due to the coronavirus, while over 2 million people have recovered from the disease. There are currently more than 2.17 million confirmed cases in the country.

The virus has claimed more than 1.78 million lives in 191 countries and regions since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December last year, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Over 81.9 million people have been infected with the virus and more than 46.2 million have recovered from the disease.

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