Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday said that the Turkish-developed COVID-19 vaccine would be introduced by April.
The start of the vaccination drive in the country would mark an “important step forward in our struggle against the coronavirus [pandemic],” Birgün newspaper cited Erdoğan as saying during an inauguration ceremony of a bridge in Turkey’s east.
Erdoğan’s statement arrives after Turkey on Wednesday announced the arrival of millions of doses of the first batch of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine in capital Ankara.
Turkey is scheduled to receive 50 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine in total, to be delivered in batches until March. On Dec. 26, Turkey also struck a deal with BioNTech SE for 4.5 million of doses their coronavirus vaccine, with an option to raise it to 30 million.
On the first day of 2021, Turkey lost 212 people to COVID-19, while recording 12,203 new cases. As of Friday, the total death toll in the country has reached 21,093, according to the ministry’s official figures.
Erdoğan on Saturday said Turkey was aiming to make 2021 a year of recovery and reforms over an array of issues.
“We want to make 2021 a year when we leap forward. That is what we are now preparing for,” he said.
In November, Erdoğan promised sweeping reforms to the economy and judiciary after the Turkish lira sank to successive record lows against the dollar and inflation surged.