By Elif Kucuk
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey began administering the homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac in larger hospitals across the country on Thursday.
The landmark vaccine was developed in collaboration with Erciyes University in the Kayseri province and the Health Ministry's Turkish Health Institutes.
With Turkovac, Turkey joined the ranks of only nine countries that can produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
Turkey announced last week that the indigenous Turkovac vaccine had been authorized for emergency use.
Earlier, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the vaccine will be administered in Turkey's signature city hospitals beginning Thursday.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, has also vowed to make the vaccine available globally, saying it will be used to benefit all of humanity.
- ‘We trust our vaccine’
Mehmet Ali Kizildag, whose first vaccination was Turkovac, said he was looking forward to getting the indigenous vaccine.
"We waited until today because we have a lot of trust in our Turkish doctors," Kizildag, 40, explained, adding, "Thank God we got our vaccine today."
"We have confidence in our government, We trust in our vaccine as well," said Halil Cebi, 45, who also plans to get the Turkovac jab. "Everyone can have trust in their government and get vaccinated. Hopefully, we'll be able to survive and fight the pandemic this way."
Omer Lutfi Kiziloglak, 56, who chose Turkovac as a booster shot after getting two doses of the BioNTech vaccine, said he had been waiting for the indigenous vaccine for a long time.
"Because it's local, we have trust in it."
"Even though there are other vaccines available, I would recommend this to everyone," he added.
* Writing by Seda Sevencan