Turkey starts giving third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Turkey starts giving third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Turkey starts giving third dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Turkey has started to administer the third dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 as the country moved to a new normalization phase on July 1, lifting curfews and lockdowns.

The third dose of the jab will be first given to health workers and those aged 50 and above, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The country has already fully vaccinated more than 15 million people, which corresponds to 25 percent of the population.

Some 35 million people have been given the first dose to date, with a total number of doses administered in the country reaching 50 million.

Turkey rolled out its vaccination program in mid-January.

Koca also said those who received the first jab of the BioNTech vaccine would be able to get their second dose in the coming weeks.

The country is currently using the BioNTech and the jab developed by the Chinese company Sinovac in its inoculation drive.

“Authorities have mobilized to bring vaccines to Turkey in a planned and comfortable fashion, and the country is one of the top counties with a vaccination pace of more than 1 million doses registered in a single day,” the minister added.

In response to a question regarding vaccination planning for those who already recovered from COVID-19, Koca said the previous approach was to offer vaccination six months following recovery, but now patients could have the vaccine after three months.

Since the first case was recorded in March last year, the coronavirus has infected more than 5.4 million people, with the death toll from the pandemic exceeding 49,000.

The health minister earlier this week said that more than 224 cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 were detected in Turkey’s 26 provinces.

The spread of the Delta variant seems to be on the rise in Turkey, Koca warned, but noting that the country was still free of the Delta Plus strain.