Turkey offering extra Pfizer shots for those wanting to travel

Medics make public announcement from ambulances to convince people to get vaccinated in Diyarbakir
A medic prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in an ambulance parked on a main street as her colleagues make public announcement from it to convince people to get vaccinated amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Diyarbakir, Turkey July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

ISTANBUL, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Turkey is allowing people who were inoculated with Sinovac's (SVA.O)coronavirus vaccine to take an additional Pfizer (PFE.N)dose as it looks to ease travel to countries that have not approved the Chinese shot, the health ministry said on Monday.

Turkey has administered 83 million vaccines against COVID-19, mainly Sinovac's Coronavac and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. In the first weeks, it was exclusively using the Chinese vaccine, which has not been approved in some Western countries.

Last month, authorities started giving a third dose to health workers and people aged over 50, as studies showed that the antibodies triggered by Sinovac's vaccine decline after around six months.

More than six million of those booster doses have been administered, and the ministry said on Monday that people who had been given a booster dose of Pfizer could receive a second Pfizer shot if needed for travel.

The ministry also said it was starting to inoculate people over 15 and that children over 12 with chronic illnesses would also be eligible.

Reporting by Yesim Dikmen; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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