Number of fully vaccinated people still low, says minister
The number of people, who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, in Turkey is not yet high enough to fight the pandemic, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has warned as the coronavirus cases are on the rise again in major cities.
According to data from the Health Ministry, the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Turkey, which launched its inoculation drive in mid-January, has well exceeded 75.3 million doses.
More than 41.5 million people have received the first doses of the jab.
Over 28 million people have been fully vaccinated, which corresponds to more than 45 percent of the population aged 18 and above.
“The speed of the vaccinations and our performance are high…However, more worryingly, some 20.5 million people have delayed their first doses,” Koca wrote on Twitter yesterday.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases increased significantly in Turkey’s largest cities over a period of one week, the latest official data showed.
Istanbul, the country’s largest city by population, saw the number of cases per 100,000 people jump to 168.82 between July 24 to July 30 from 88.19 cases registered between July 17 and July 23.
According to data Koca posted on Twitter, the number of infections per 100,000 people rose to 165.2 in Ankara from 69.13 over the same period.
In İzmir, Turkey’s third largest city, the increase in the number of infections was relatively milder, rising around 30 percent to 43.3 cases per 100,000 people.
The southeastern province of Siirt topped the list with 1,140 cases per 100,000 people.
“The provinces with a higher vaccination rate are far less affected,” Koca said.
Experts had already warned the increased mobility between the provinces during the Eid al-Adha holiday and the public’s increasingly complacent behavior could lead to a surge in the coronavirus cases.
The number of young people being treated for COVID-19 are also on the rise, said Professor Ayşe Özcan, the head of the coronavirus intensive care unit (ICU) at Ankara Training and Research Hospital.
“Most of those patients at the ICU are young people, who have not received their COVID vaccines,” Özcan noted.
Some three months ago the occupation rate at their ICU was around 40 percent, she said. “The occupancy rate climbed to 100 percent as the number of cases began to increase starting from June.”