Virus vaccinations to be carried out in four stages, says health minister
Turkey is planning to carry out vaccinations for COVID-19 in four stages, starting with the groups most at risk and gradually widening the scope to other quarters of the public, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said.
The injection will be administered to healthcare workers, people aged 65 and above, disabled people, people who stay in shelters and those living in crowded places, Koca detailed in a statement after a virtual meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science Board.
Those who work in critical jobs and people aged 50 and above having at least one chronic disease will be vaccinated in the second stage.
The third stage includes those with at least one chronic disease aged below 50, young adults and industry and professional workers not mentioned in the first two groups.
In the fourth and final stage, all individuals other than the first three groups will be vaccinated.
Turkey will be among the first countries in the world to begin vaccinating people for the coronavirus, with the first shipment of vaccines it has purchased to arrive in Ankara sometime after Dec. 11, Koca said.
The government said it had inked an agreement to procure at least 50 million doses of a vaccine being developed by China.
“We have signed a contract for the supply of an inactive virus vaccine. We are also in talks for an mRNA vaccine,” Koca said
Public health laboratories and the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency will evaluate the vaccines when they arrive, he elaborated.
The Health Ministry will grant a permit for early use if the vaccines are found to be in line with the country’s standards, he said, adding their application will begin after this stage.
The government has announced the timetable for vaccinations for COVID-19 at a time when the outbreak is fast spreading despite all the warning from the authorities to the public to follow anti-virus measures.
The occupancy rate at adult intensive care units currently stand at nearly 72 percent while the overall hospital bed occupancy rate is around 56 percent.
The number of coronavirus cases in İzmir, the country’s third largest city, and the Central Anatolian province of Konya rose by 50 percent over the past two weeks, while the rise in infections in the provinces of Adana, Samsun and Ordu was 100 percent, Koca said.
“Our hospitals and health care workers are under a huge burden in all those provinces, but particularly in İzmir, Adana and Samsun,” he added.