Turkey lowers jab eligibility age to 16

Turkey lowers jab eligibility age to 16

Turkey lowers jab eligibility age to 16

In an effort to further increase the coverage of its inoculation program, Turkey has lowered the eligibility age for the vaccine against COVID-19 to 16.

Those aged 16 and over are now entitled to make appointments to receive their first doses of the jab.

Turkey rolled out its massive vaccination program in mid-January starting with healthcare workers and the elderly. Over the following months, it gradually lowered the eligibility age to cover as many as possible while at the same time introducing tight restrictions, including a nationwide lockdown from April 29 to May 17 to bring the spread of the virus under control.

Data from the Health Ministry show that Turkey has administered nearly 57 million doses of the coronavirus jab to date. Some 38 million people have received their first doses while more than 17 million have been fully vaccinated.

The figures suggest that over 27 percent of the population aged above 18 have been given both doses while close to 61 percent of the population in the same age group have received their first doses.

“We cannot achieve social immunity unless we increase the vaccination rates in all provinces,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on July 10, urging people to have their shots.

According to Professor Mustafa Necmi İlhan, a member of the Health Ministry’s Science Board, the daily infections may decline below 1,000 if the number of people who receive two doses of the jab reach around 50 million.

He noted that the number of virus cares has been hovering at around 5,000 and 6,000 and said that “if the daily infections are not rising, the main reason behind this is the vaccinations.”

Turkey had to tighten anti-virus measures when the daily infections climbed to record 60,000 cases in April. As the curbs and restrictions, along with the fast-tracked vaccinations, helped the country reduce cases, Turkey moved to a new phase in normalization starting July 1, abolishing weekday curfews and lockdowns on Sundays.