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Turkey recently announced that a fifth booster vaccination is in the pipeline for those who have already received two doses of the Chinese Sinovac and two doses of the BioNTech vaccine at least three months ago. Those who qualify and wish to receive the vaccine will be given BioNTech’s Sinovac vaccine, also known as Turkovac in Turkey. This is further evidence of the diminishing efficacy of the vaccine with five doses over a period of approximately 12 to 15 months since vaccination was started.

Turkey has developed its own inactivated COVID-19 vaccine called Turkovac, which was approved by state regulators just last month emergency solution was approved. The local product was from the health institutes developed in Turkey. Other approved vaccines in this country include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V (Gamaleya), and Sinovac’s CoronaVac.

COVID-19 and Turkey

Turkey, which is partly to the west and partly to the east, is currently struggling like many other countries with a significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections. On Sunday, January 9, the country reported 61,727 new infections, one of the highest since the pandemic began, but not quite as high as in previous days.

The number of deaths, while not as high as in previous epidemics, is still unacceptably high: 173 were reported yesterday. About 61.5% of the population is fully vaccinated, and nearly a third of the population has already received at least a third booster. As early as August last year, the strongman at the head of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced an attempt in some regions of the country to prescribe vaccinations.

Stay the course on vaccination policy

“The faster spread of the omicron variant does not lead to a change in the measures,” said Turkish Health Minister Fehrettin Koca, according to the daily Sabbah. “The importance of personal measures against this variant, which is spreading faster, has increased significantly. “Our domestic vaccine, Turkovac, will be administered in our city hospitals from Thursday. It is possible to get the booster shot with our domestic vaccine. No matter what type of vaccine you have previously received, you can get your booster shot with Turkovac.

The announcement came just before the Department of Health set a new daily record of 83,529 positive COVID-19 cases on Jan. 5. According to Worldometer, there are currently 551,738 active COVID-19 cases as of January 8th.

Our World Data reports that 136 million doses of vaccine have been administered, with 51.8 million or 61.5% of the population fully vaccinated.

Critics are cautious

After the announcement, there were mostly negative comments on social media, especially in one Reddit-Thread, which discussed why the nation is promoting the fifth dose.

“So that’s basically 2 Sinovac + 2 BioNTech + 1 BioNTech Booster (2x Sinovac + 3x mRNA),” said Reddit user Egeym.

“What is interesting is that they have a choice of 3 vaccines (four vaccines are currently available in Turkey). In the US, it’s either mRNA or the highway,” he said Twitter user Jtoc toc in a tweet.

“I mean, how much is too much?” asked Reddit user TripCraft. “That is a serious question. We don’t get a flu shot like this very often. I’m starting to not feel comfortable getting a refresher all the time when it could be every two months.”

Daily Sabah reports that experts hope the vaccine developed in Turkey will eliminate vaccination fatigue in the country.


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