Unvaccinated people should take regular PCR tests, says minister

Unvaccinated people should take regular PCR tests, says minister

Unvaccinated people should take regular PCR tests, says minister

Vaccination against COVID-19 should be a must for education and businesses to continue and unvaccinated people should regularly present negative PCR test results, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said, reiterating that schools will reopen as already planned.

Speaking after the Health Ministry’s Science Board meeting on Aug. 11, Koca said that especially the parents of the students will either have to be fully vaccinated or get checked on a regular basis to prove that they do not have the disease, noting that the details of this issue will be announced later.

Up until now, the vaccination program has been a matter of choice or incentive, however, vaccination is a duty which cannot be left to choice anymore, the minister stressed.

“I would like to express clearly and loudly that all our schools will open on time. It is impossible for us to give up face-to-face education. We have an important task: We have to take necessary measures to ensure that all teachers and instructors are vaccinated,” Koca said.

He, however, noted that even though the vaccine program is being carried out successfully, the country has not yet achieved social immunity.

“People who have received all three doses of inactivated vaccines have the highest level of protection,” Koca said.

“The closest protection level to this is in our people who have received two doses of an inactivated vaccine and got a third shot of an mRNA vaccine.”

Nearly 81 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Turkey since the country rolled out its inoculation program on Jan. 14.

It has been using both the jabs developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and the Chinese Sinovac.

To date, well over 31 million people have been fully vaccinated, while more than 43 million people have received their first doses. Additionally, close to 6.2 million people have been given a third dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, more provinces have become low-risk provinces as the vaccination rate among their residents reached or surpassed 75 percent. There are more than 20 such provinces in Turkey now, according to data from the Health Ministry.