This summer to be the last with face masks on, says health minister
With COVID-19 vaccines increasingly becoming more available, this summer will be the last when people will have to wear their face masks, the health minister told media outlets following a virtual meeting of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board on June 2.
Noting that individual measures will be much more significant in the fight against COVID-19 in the coming days, Fahrettin Koca stated that citizens will take their own precautions and will participate in the normalization of life.
“This will be the last summer when masks will make our face sweat,” Koca said.
The minister also stated that periods with strict measures and lockdowns resulted in a dramatic drop in the numbers of new infections considering the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On the other hand, when we lose control, each reopening period leaves deep traces that we experience with exponentially rising numbers in cases, patients, and losses,” Koca noted.
“We will certainly have to pay heavy medical, human, economic and sociological prices unless we socialize in a controlled way,” he added.
Speaking about Turkey’s vaccination campaign and efforts for domestic production, Koca said vaccines were the single most effective tool at humankind’s disposal against the pandemic, urging vaccine-hesitant people to trust in science and have their shots.
“To successfully achieve this, I’ve only one new request from you: Those who have their turns for vaccination, please receive the jabs,” he emphasized.
The minister stressed that the results of the sacrifice made during the restrictions should not be wasted by hurrying and trying to return to the old normal.
Since Turkey began a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, more than 16.7 million people to date have received their first doses, while over 12.6 million have been fully inoculated.
Noting that the final phase of domestic vaccine studies is continuing at full speed, Koca said that the final tests have been carried out on a vaccine candidate and that its clinical use will begin as soon as it passes the tests successfully.
Koca also noted that comparing the vaccines in terms of their reliability and effectiveness requires time, stressing that those vaccines with their tests and clinical trials completed have started to be administered.
“We can’t talk about stopping the pandemic without making at least 60 percent of our society immune through our vaccination program. To achieve this, we have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” he added.
Turkey currently uses vaccines from China’s Sinovac and Pfizer/BioNTech, with Russian-made Sputnik V also set to be used soon.