Turkey mulling plans to boost vaccinations
Nuray Babacan- ANKARA
Officials are mulling plans to boost vaccinations in autumn as the number of daily inflections keeps rising despite the ongoing inoculation drive.
Authorities are assessing proposals from the Health Ministry and the Health Ministry’s Science Board as to how to prepare for the coming months in the fight against the pandemic.
As part of those measures, one option the officials are considering is to make it mandatory for civil servants who refuse to get the COVID-19 jab to take PCR tests on a weekly basis and wear face masks.
Authorities are looking into similar practices in the world, such as policies in some states in the U.S., to draw a plan to boost vaccinations among civil servants.
Officials, meanwhile, reckon that the vaccination drive gained momentum after the long Eid al-Adha holiday, but the pace of the jab drive does not seem to be strong enough to bring the spread of the virus under control.
The daily virus cases have already been on the rise for some time and the mobility during the holiday also contributed to the uptick in the infections, according to officials.
Recently, local community religious leaders stepped in to encourage people to get their shots against COVID-19 in Turkey’s low vaccinated provinces in eastern and southeastern provinces.
Authorities are now considering plans to add teachers, doctors, imams and local business leaders to this campaign and give those groups training to that end.
Turkey launched its massive vaccination program in mid-January starting with health workers and the elderly and gradually lowered the eligibility age for the jab over the months.
More than 90 percent of healthcare workers have been vaccinated to date.
According to data from the Health Ministry, Turkey has administered nearly 74 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Over 41 million people have received the first dose and more than 27 million people have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, efforts of local authorities in Central Anatolian provinces continue in order to prevent the increase in the number of new cases.
Pandemic control center teams in the Central Anatolian provinces of Kırıkkale and Kayseri made vaccination calls at outdoor and indoor weddings in cities.
“It is important to quickly vaccinate people who have not been jabbed yet to protect against the Delta variant virus, which has a high spread rate,” officials said during the calls.
While wedding organizers and guests were asked to comply with the COVID-19 measures, some residents were warned during face mask checks of the authorities.