Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was vaccinated for COVID-19 on Jan. 14, in an attempt to alleviate any public doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Turkey began administering the shots developed by China's Sinovac to health workers on Jan. 14, as it rolls out a nationwide vaccination program against the disease that has killed more than 23,000 people in the country. It has so far vaccinated more than 200,000 health workers.
Erdoğan received the vaccine at Ankara City Hospital, after meeting with ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials.
Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, Erdoğan said he and AKP senior members 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 Erdoğan left the hospital, said all citizens should get vaccinated when their turn comes.
Erdoğan released a statement on Twitter, saying the country aims to vaccinate all citizens in a very short period of time.
Başarıyla devam eden aşı programımız dahilinde şu ana kadar 254 bin sağlık çalışanımız ilk doz aşılarını oldu. Ben de onlara katılarak aşılandım.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) January 14, 2021
İnşallah çok kısa süre içinde tüm vatandaşlarımızı aşılamayı hedefliyoruz. Hayırlı uğurlu olsun. pic.twitter.com/6xvPr8NX9q
The president also released a statement on the Telegram social network, saying: "I got vaccinated as well."
According to data from the Health Ministry, Turkey has 1.1 million health workers who will be vaccinated within a month.
Two doses of the vaccine will be administered 28 days apart. Those who recovered from COVID-19 will not be vaccinated in four to six months following their recovery.
On Jan. 13, Turkey's official drug and medical equipment body approved CoronaVac for emergency use against the novel coronavirus.
The first batch of 3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine ordered from China’s SinoVac Biotech arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30.