By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - As prospective vaccines make headlines worldwide, Turkey plans to start administering vaccines against the novel coronavirus as soon as this month, the country's health minister said on Tuesday.
"Relating to the vaccines, we want to start intensely in December," Fahrettin Koca told reporters at the parliament.
Koca noted that at least 10 million, but probably roughly 20 million, vaccine doses would be procured in December, along with 20 million doses in January and another 10 million in February.
Turkey's science committee is preparing plans to start vaccinating health workers on Dec. 11, he said.
The Phase-3 trials of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, which began on Sept. 15, are also ongoing.
They include high-risk healthcare workers and medium-risk volunteers.
Vaccines are being administered to volunteers at 25 centers across 12 provinces, with the overall test sample to total 12,450.
The total number of coronavirus patients in the country has 500,865 on Monday as 6,514 more symptomatic cases were recorded.
Authorities reported an additional 31,219 COVID-19 infections, including both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, according to the Health Ministry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 1.47 million lives in 191 countries and regions since last December.
Over 63.38 million cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 40.63 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.
While the US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases, Europe is in the grip of a devastating second wave of infections.