DIYARBAKIR, Turkey

A Turkish medical doctor in the southeastern Diyarbakir province, who volunteered for trials of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, has recommended everyone to get vaccinated.

Interim results from phase 3 trials have shown that the vaccine is over 91% effective, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, and the first batch of 3 million doses arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30.

Ilyas Yolbas, a pediatrician at the Dicle University, is one of the over 7,000 volunteers who were inoculated. He received a single dose last month.

“With peace of mind, people should definitely go and vaccinate themselves. They don’t have to worry in any way. I recommend it,” he told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

Recep Tekin, a professor of infectious diseases and clinical microbiology at the Dicle University, who is also the university’s COVID-19 intensive care coordinator, said no major side-effects were seen during their trial.

“No matter which vaccine arrives first, we need to be quickly vaccinated, without any prejudice and overcome this pandemic,” he said.

Referring to the vaccination of Yolbas, Tekin said: “Even a single dose of the vaccine provided protection and generated anti-bodies. Two doses of the vaccine are routinely recommended in this case. With these two doses, there will likely be sufficient level of antibodies to protect the person against the novel disease.”

Besides CoronaVac, Turkey has signed a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech to receive up to 4.5 million doses of their vaccine in the ongoing year.

Turkey plans to roll out a massive inoculation program soon, starting with healthcare workers.

Vaccinations will not be mandatory, but the country aims to convince the public about the necessity of the immunization, making mass vaccination possible.

*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev in Ankara

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