Officials mull ways to boost jab coverage in low vaccinated areas
Turkish officials are preparing to discuss new proposals to increase the jab rate as the country’s eastern and southeastern regions are lagging in the vaccination campaign.
Data from the Health Ministry show that only 35 percent of the population aged above 18 have received the first shot of vaccine in the eastern province of Bitlis, while the corresponding rates are 36 percent in Şanlıurfa province and a little over 37 percent in Mardin province.
According to authorities, due to vaccine hesitancy among people, it is unclear how they will achieve 75 percent jab rates in these provinces, followed by neighboring Siirt, Diyarbakır, Muş, Batman and Bingöl.
A province-wide mobilization was launched to expand the vaccination program in Diyarbakır, the largest province in the region.
Dozens of non-governmental organizations operating throughout the province called out to the public to get vaccinated while health professionals continue their vaccination activities on the field.
In a bid to persuade people to receive their vaccine shots, authorities are looking forward to collaborating with famous names and opinion leaders who have an impact on the public.
Experts and officials came together in a meeting of the Coronavirus Science Board on July 14 to find ways to increase vaccination rates across the country.
Officials in the meeting suggested that people who are not vaccinated should be restricted from being a part of large-scale events such as meetings, weddings, concerts and congresses held in indoor environments, as well as sports events, theaters, cinemas and malls.
However, it is expected that the ministry will adopt the incentive process rather than an obligation to increase vaccination rates and give priority to acting within this framework.
The latest situation reached in the country’s vaccination campaign will be evaluated at the Presidential Cabinet meeting, which is not expected to take place this week.
Since the start of the inoculation drive on Jan. 14, Turkey has administered nearly 67 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with over 23.25 million people now fully vaccinated, corresponding to nearly 35 percent of the entire population aged above 18.
Turkey has also administered nearly 4 million doses of a third dose of the COVID-19 jab.
Third vaccine row
Meanwhile, immunity against the coronavirus is waning in people who were fully vaccinated with the shot made by BioNTech/Pfizer in January because of the rapidly spreading Delta variant, BioNTech’s chief executive said, confirming data that emerged from Israel last week.
But even as antibody levels are dropping seven months after immunization among some vaccine recipients, most of them will remain protected against the severe disease and might not yet need a third dose, according to Uğur Şahin, Turkish CEO of the company that invented the vaccine and partnered with Pfizer to develop the product for the global market.