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Covid-19: Turkey says more than 250,000 health workers vaccinated so far

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives first dose of Sinovac as Turkey begins vaccinating health workers
Turkish President Erdogan receives a shot of Sinovac's CoronaVac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Ankara
Turkish President Erdogan receives shot of Sinovac's CoronaVac coronavirus vaccine in Ankara (Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced more than 250,000 health workers have so far been vaccinated against Covid-19 as he received the injection himself in front of TV cameras on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said the president's vaccination was televised so as to alleviate any public doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

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The country began administering the shots developed by China's Sinovac to health workers on Thursday, rolling out a nationwide vaccination programme against a virus that has killed more than 23,000 people in the country.

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

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, Erdogan said he and senior members of the AKP 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 Turkey's incoming vaccines would, for now, also be from Sinovac.

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