Pandemic to be out of Turkey’s agenda: Health minister

Pandemic to be out of Turkey’s agenda: Health minister

Pandemic to be out of Turkey’s agenda: Health minister

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has once again called on people to get a booster shot, vowing that the pandemic will be out of Turkey’s agenda, as he stressed that the country now has its own power in the fight against the virus with its first locally-made vaccine.

Recalling that vaccines changed the course of the pandemic and that Turkey now has its own vaccine, Koca said he hopes Turkovac, which received approval for emergency use on Dec. 22, to be beneficial and auspicious to the Turkish nation.

“Our duty is to get the reminder dose of the [vaccine] as soon as possible and to comply with the measures. Together we will remove the pandemic from the agenda,” he added.

Stressing that the course of the pandemic will change more than it does today as the vaccination rate increases, Koca said that the Istanbul, Düzce and Nevşehir provinces entered the “blue category” on Turkey’s COVID-19 vaccination map.

The color-coded vaccination map assigns colors to provinces based on vaccination rates, with red indicating the highest risk and blue meaning the lowest risk in terms of infections.

More than 56.7 million people have received their first doses, while over 51.2 million have been fully vaccinated, according to official data. The number of people who have received their third COVID-19 vaccine doses crossed 15.9 million.

Meanwhile, Professor Mustafa Çalış, rector of Kayseri Erciyes University, where Turkovac was developed with the cooperation of other medical authorities, stated that they are very proud and happy because the vaccine has been approved for emergency use.

Noting that Turkovac gave positive results on the Alpha variant of COVID-19, Çalış said: “We found that the Turkovac vaccine was 100 percent effective in the alpha variant, especially in knockout mice.”

Stressing that the studies on the effect of the vaccine on the Delta variant are still continuing, Çalış said the second dosing on the mice has just been completed, and it will be difficult to say anything before the result is obtained.