Pace of vaccinations still slow, says health minister

Pace of vaccinations still slow, says health minister

Pace of vaccinations still slow, says health minister

Some provinces have managed to increase the vaccination rate among the population, but the overall pace of the jab program is still slow, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said as the county decided to speed up the drive in giving the booster shots.

Koca noted that two more provinces moved to safer categories in the scale by exceeding the 75 percent and 65 percent inoculation rates, but warned that the vaccination rates are increasing at a slow pace.

Those who skipped their appointments to get the jab must immediately do what is right for themselves and the society, Koca wrote on Twitter.

“Let’s go back to March 2020 for a moment. There is no difference between today and then for those who get their jabs and those who don’t. They still have to fight the same virus if they contract it. Everyone should protect themselves against the virus with the vaccine and other measures,” he said.

People who have received either the inactivated or the mRNA vaccines at least three months ago are now eligible for the booster shot, Koca announced earlier this week following a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science Board where experts discussed the possible impacts of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Turkey.

Turkey, which reported the first cases of the Omicron strain last week, has not yet seen a surge in the daily coronavirus infections that have been hovering at around 20,000 since the start of December.

Nearly 123 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country since mid-January. Turkey is using Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA jab and the Chinese company Sinovac’s inactivated vaccine in its inoculation program.

More than 51 million people aged 18 and above have been double jabbed while around 57 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Also, over 13 million people have been given a third shot against the coronavirus.