Turks inoculated with Turkovac barred from entering Germany

Turkish nationals vaccinated with the domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac will not be able to enter Germany, in line with the German authorities’ updated entry rules, the Schengen Visa information website reported on Monday.

Turks inoculated with Turkovac will be treated as unvaccinated by Germany, as the country only considers persons fully immunised when they receive jabs approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the website said.

Turkey started to roll out Turkovac at the end of last month after issuing emergency use authorisation on Dec.22. It did not provide publicly available verification of its safety and effectiveness.

The introduction of Turkovac, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan touts as a reflection of Turkey’s medical knowhow, is sparking concern among some Turkish health professionals despite claims by the government that it is more effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19 than other inactive vaccines. Turkovac has not been approved for use by either the EMA or the World Health Organisation (WHO). The EMA has not received an application from Turkey for the approval of the Turkovac vaccine, Sözcü newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Those vaccinated with Turkovac will be allowed to enter Germany only if they are travelling for “absolutely essential purposes”, such as serving as a witness in court, the website said. In that case, they will need to quarantine for ten days on entry, it said. The German authorities have also requested that those inoculated with Turkovac do not apply for a German visa, it said.

Turkey has been classified as a high-risk area by Germany since August.

The Turkish government has inoculated millions of people with the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine following the initial outbreak. It has switched to administering other vaccines after CoronaVac was found to be less effective than others in fighting the virus.

Some 23.6 million people in Turkey have received a third dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, according to health ministry data. The authorities have vaccinated some 52.2 million adults with two doses. Turkey has a population of around 85 million people, meaning those who have received two doses equates to some 61.4 percent of citizens. In the EU, the full inoculation rate among all age groups stands at 70.3 percent, according to ourworldindata.org.


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