Social immunity 'key goal' in fight against COVID-19: Minister

Social immunity 'key goal' in fight against COVID-19: Minister

Social immunity key goal in fight against COVID-19: Minister

Turkey’s primary goal in the fight against COVID-19 is to ensure social immunity and citizens’ resistance to the virus with the country’s vaccination drive, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

“Let’s follow the mask and distance rule, let’s get our vaccines to gain resistance against the virus and provide social immunity,” the minister said, noting that the desire to return to the old flow of life should not be at the expense of health.

Koca once again called on the public to wear masks and follow the social distancing rule, while he underlined earlier in the day that the country’s primary goal was to ensure social immunity through vaccination.

Providing the latest information on the vaccination rates in some Turkish provinces, the minister noted that the provinces where the second dose vaccination rate is still below 55 percent are in the eastern and southeastern regions.

He also stressed that the southeastern province of Şırnak changed its color on Turkey’s COVID-19 map from red to orange by increasing the second dose rate while it has increased over 75 percent in the Black Sea provinces of Bartın and Giresun.

In the map, provinces are divided into four different risk groups: Low (blue), medium (yellow), high (orange), and very high (red) based on infection and vaccination rates of the residents.

Meanwhile, since the country expanded its vaccination campaign to include minors between 12 and 15 years who have parental consent, a new debate has been triggered concerning the children of divorced parents.

There are at least 1,000 families experiencing vaccine conflict, according to Vedat Bulut, secretary-general of the Turkish Medical Association.

He announced that the ministry has recently changed the regulation that the approval of both parents was required.

“While the decision of both parents was required for vaccination before, whoever has custody also has the authority to decide on the vaccination. There are many applications regarding vaccination conflicts, especially between divorced couples,” Bulut added.