Minister hails success in double-jab rate

Minister hails success in double-jab rate

Minister hails success in double-jab rate

More than 85 percent of the adult population in Turkey has been double jabbed and it is a “significant success,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said.

Nearly 53 million people aged 18 and above have been given two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, according to data from the Health Ministry.

Koca, however, voiced concern over the slow pace of the vaccination of the booster shots. “There is a noticeable negligence when it comes to the third dose…At the point we have reached, the booster shot has become very important. Because the world is increasingly leaning more toward vaccination in the fight against the pandemic,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

In its jab drive, the country is using the domestic vaccine Turkovac, and shots developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and the Chinese company Sinovac.

The pace of the inoculations, however, still vary significantly between provinces. For instance, in the southern province of Osmaniye, almost 90 percent of the adult population are double jabbed and the rate is 89 percent in the Black Sea province of Ordu.

But in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Bingöl, Diyarbakır, Batman and Şanlıurfa less than 65 percent of the people in the same age group have been given two doses of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, the number of daily cases continues to remain below 80,000 for a third day in a row.

Infections climbed to record highs levels in early February due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, rising above the 100,000-threshold. However, they gradually declined in the following weeks. Experts expect the decline in infections to continue in the period ahead.

As the weather will warm and people will spend more time in open spaces, experts are suggesting that the face mask mandate and social distancing rules may be lifted outdoors but kept for public transport and theaters starting March.