Turkey administers over 114 million doses of COVID vaccines

Turkey administers over 114 million doses of COVID vaccines

Turkey administers over 114 million doses of COVID vaccines

The number of the COVID-19 vaccines Turkey has administered since mid-January when the inoculation drive began has surpassed 114 million doses, with the country’s health minister renewing call for young people to get the shot.

“This is my call for young people. We are expecting to see you at health institutions to have your vaccines. You do not have to be fully decided about it, you may have questions [about the vaccine], we are there to answer your questions. No matter what, but please do not ignore,” Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.

In August, Turkey expanded vaccine eligibility to young people aged 15 and older, and those over 12 with chronic illnesses.

According to data from the Health Ministry, to date more than 76 percent of the population aged 18 and above – or over 73 million people – have been fully vaccinated while some 55 million – or 88 percent of the adult population – have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.

Moreover, close to 11 million people have received the third dose of the coronavirus jab.

Turkey is seeing a spike in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, which have been stuck at around 30,000 since mid-September. Koca recently revealed that more than 40 percent of the active cases are among people under the age of 23.

Meanwhile, the weekly data on infection rates on provincial basis, covering between Sept. 2 and Sept. 8, showed that coronavirus cases increased in the country’s 46 provinces, including Istanbul and İzmir, and declined in 34 others, including Ankara, while cases remained unchanged in one province.

The number of cases per 100,000 people rose to 275 from 252 in the previous week in Istanbul – home to nearly one-fifth of Turkey’s population, while İzmir, the country’s third largest city in the west, saw cases rise to nearly 49 from 47. However, in the capital, the country’s second most populous city, infections per 100,000 people eased to 356 from 364 over the same period.

On a related note, Professor Mustafa Necmi İlhan, from the Health Ministry’s Science Board, which advises the government on the pandemic, ruled out the tightening of the virus-related restrictions if the cases climb further.

“It is not the time for tightening. We have a very powerful weapon; that is the vaccine. We may not need to talk about tightening if people got vaccinated,” he said.