Over 25 pct of Turkish population aged over 18 fully vaccinated
According to data from the Health Ministry, nearly 16 million people have been fully vaccinated in the country. Moreover, around 58 percent of its citizens, or nearly 36 million people aged over 18 have received their first dose.
The vaccination rate was 58.6 percent in Istanbul, the country’s most populous city, while the rate was 67 percent in Ankara and nearly 68 percent in İzmir. The western province of Muğla topped the list with a vaccination rate of 79.2 percent, while the southeastern province of Siirt was at the bottom at 26.7 percent.
Turkey, which began the vaccinations on Jan. 14, also last week started to administer a third dose of the coronavirus injection to health care workers and those aged 50 and above amid the global surge in the cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Only those who previously received two doses of the Sinovac jabs will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as the third dose.
The data from the ministry showed that more than 1 million people have received their third dose of the jab to date.
‘Full normalization not too far’
Professor Uğur Şahin, the co-founder of the Germany-based BioNTech, said that the vaccination definitely helps bring the pandemic under control.
“This will probably happen in three to four months in Turkey,” said Şahin, who along with Özlem Türeci, the other co-founder of the company, attended the graduation ceremony of Sabancı University in Istanbul online.
“I am fully confident that we will eventually return to a normal life. We will be able to both bring the outbreak under control and reduce hospitalizations. It is crucial that everyone gets the vaccine,” Şahin added.
Amid a nationwide fall in virus cases and the fast-track inoculations, Turkey this month entered a new normalization phase, lifting almost all virus-related restrictions, including week-day curfews and lockdowns on Sundays.
On a related note, Professor Levent Akın from the Health Ministry’s Science Board said he observed some vaccine hesitancy among the 18-year-olds. “The plan is to start face-to-face education at universities in September and October. For this to happen, this age group should be vaccinated.
“This is a very mobile age group, acting complacent. People from this age group develop false ideas about the vaccine by gathering wrong information on the Internet,” Akın said.