Number of low-risk provinces rising as jab drive speeds up
The COVID-19 vaccination rate has reached 75 percent of the population over the age of 18 in nearly 30 out of all 81 provinces in Turkey, increasing the number of low-risk provinces.
Only six provinces in the country’s east were colored red, showing that the adult population who have been inoculated in these provinces is below 55 percent.
The rate of the inoculated is between 55 and 65 percent in some 14 provinces, colored in orange. The rest of the provinces are colored in yellow, giving the statistics that 65 to 75 percent of the adult population in these provinces have had at least a jab.
“We have to get a jab if we want to keep these case numbers under control,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Aug. 16.
The southwestern province of Muğla tops the list of blue provinces, with 92.3 percent of the adult population vaccinated. The northwestern province of Çanakkale come second with 85.7 percent and Edirne, a province bordering Greece, is the third blue province with an 84 percent rate.
The southeastern province of Şanlıurfa tops the list of the high-risk provinces with 47.8 percent of the population who had at least a jab.
The minister named six provinces that changed their colors on the map.
“The rate of the adult population vaccinated in [the Central Anatolian provinces of] Konya, Niğde and [southeastern province of] Gaziantep has surpassed 65 percent. They turned yellow from orange,” Koca said.
“The rates in [the Black Sea province of] Sinop and [the Mediterranean province of] Osmaniye are over 75 percent. They are now blue.”
The eastern province of Batman also turned orange from red, he added.
Turkey has administered over 84.57 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January.
Over 44.37 million people have gotten their first doses, while more than 33.37 million are now fully vaccinated.
Turkey is also administering third COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, and over 6.81 million such doses have been given.
To date, 71.46 percent of the country’s adult population have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccines.
Separately, a debate began after the ministry announced those who have received two doses of the inactivated Sinovac vaccine and a third booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can get a fourth dose of the mRNA vaccine.
Some medical experts have criticized the move, saying no other country in the world follows such a practice.
Some countries require at least two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for entry. “This implementation is only for those who want to go abroad,” the ministry noted.
“The ministry thought Western countries would recognize the Sinovac vaccine, but they did not,” Mehmet Ceyhan, the head of the Association of Infectious Diseases, told daily Hürriyet on Aug. 17.
“I do not recommend a fourth dose, especially for those over 65, if they are not going abroad,” he added.