Turkey to vaccinate nearly 60 million people
Turkey will vaccinate around 60 million people against COVID-19 in an injection drive that is set to begin at the end of December.
Pregnant women, citizens under the age of 18, and those who have recovered from the virus within the past six months will be exempted from the vaccinations.
“There are some 25 million people falling into those categories to be exempt from the vaccination,” said Professor Mustafa Necmi İlhan from the Health Ministry’s Social Sciences Board.
Those who do not know whether they have had the disease will also be injected, according to İlhan.
Turkey has a population of more than 83 million.
A Chinese-made vaccine will be administered to millions of people starting with health workers and people aged 65 and over.
The injections will be provided to the public free of charge, but vaccination will not be mandatory. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, however, recently said that Turkey was aiming to convince its citizens into making mass vaccination possible.
The first batch of 20 million doses will be received in December and January. The second batch of 10 million doses will arrive in February.
The first of the 3 million doses is expected to reach Turkey in a couple of days.
The COVID-19 vaccination will be carried out in four stages.
The country needs a total of 100 million doses within three months.
Public health laboratories and the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency laboratories will evaluate the vaccines for about a fortnight.
The Health Ministry will grant a permit for early use if the vaccines are found to be in line with the country’s standards.
Officials are also in touch with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to procure the vaccines. If studies prove the Russian vaccine to be safe, then it could also be an option.
Turkey wants to receive the maximum amount of doses as soon as possible to create herd immunity.
Turkey has recorded a total of 1.75 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak, the country’s health minister has said.
The ministry had previously only announced the number of coronavirus “patients,” but in November it returned to providing the total number of cases, including asymptomatic ones.
“We have started to feel the effects of the measures taken,” Koca wrote on Twitter on Dec. 10, referring to the decrease in the number of patients. He also noted that the decline in the rise of the number of patients in critical condition continued.
“We will succeed by preserving the gains made through restrictions with measures taken personally. Let’s fight together,” Koca said.