Number of booster shots given in Turkey low, says expert

Number of booster shots given in Turkey low, says expert

Number of booster shots given in Turkey low, says expert

The number of daily booster shots given in Turkey is still too low, while the pace of inoculations for the first dose has also lost steam, an expert has warned.

“The effectiveness of both Pfizer/BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines decline in time. That is why people are urged to get the booster shot,” said Professor Mehmet Ceyhan, an expert in infectious diseases at Hacettepe University in Ankara.

Turkey is using both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Sinovac jabs in its inoculation program.

However, he complained that the vaccinations, particularly for the first and the third doses, are not at desired levels.

“Presently, some 40,000 to 50,000 first doses of the COVID-19 jabs are administered, but the figure for the booster dose is even lower,” Ceyhan told daily Milliyet, adding that around 200,000 to 300,000 people receive their second doses each day.

The aim is to vaccinate 80 percent of the population, but it does not seem likely given the current pace of the inoculation drive, he added, while also blaming the anti-vaxxers’ campaign on social media, which causes confusion and hesitancy toward the coronavirus jab among the public.

Currently, the pandemic outlook in Turkey is not very promising due to the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus, according to Ceyhan.

People should take their precautions, such as avoiding crowded places, practicing social distancing and wearing protective face masks, but also there should be some restrictions (imposed by authorities), he added.

“We never thought all restrictions would be dropped or authorities would overlook the vaccination… Given this picture, it is not now up to us but up to the virus to decide when the pandemic ends,” Ceyhan said.

The number of daily cases has been hovering around 28,000 to 30,000 since mid-September, with the death toll of about 200.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has been urging the country’s young population to get vaccinated as the virus has been spreading among them relatively faster over the past weeks.