ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president says he would get vaccinated against the coronavirus to set an example for his country’s citizens.
“There is no problem for me to get vaccinated,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after Friday prayers in Istanbul. “It is necessary to take this step as an example for our citizens.”
The Turkish government plans to buy multiple vaccines, Erdogan said.
Turkey has ordered 50 million doses of Chinese company Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, and the first shipment is due to arrive Dec. 11. The government also is talking with Russia about securing the vaccine developed there.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told the official Anadolu news agency that he would work to convince people to get immunized by getting the Chinese shot himself as soon as Turkish authorities approve its use.
Turkey also has ordered 1 million doses of the vaccine developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German company BioNTech. Erdogan said he spoke with BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin, who is of Turkish descent.
Turkey is experiencing a surge in infections with confirmed cases hovering above 30,000 per day on a 7-day average. The country’s death toll since March has reached 14,316. A weekend lockdown, the first since the end of May, is set to begin Friday evening.