Turkey’s vaccination drive gaining momentum
Turkey’s efforts to inoculate people against COVID-19 is gaining momentum with daily vaccinations remaining above 1 million doses.
According to official data from the Health Ministry, more than 70 percent of the population aged 18 and above have already received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Close to 33 million people have been given two doses of the jab while well over 6.5 million people have been given a third dose.
Heath Minister Fahrettin Koca has been taking to social media to call on people to get their shots, warning that COVID-19 cases, which started increasing in late June and have been hovering above 20,000, can only be brought under control with vaccinations.
“The decline in cases is not at the desired level. We need to reach a high vaccination rate and continue adhering to the anti-virus rules,” Koca wrote on Twitter while hailing the speed of the vaccination drive.
The minister noted that on Aug. 13, nearly 1.2 million doses were given in a single day.
He also informed that the number of people who are eligible but not yet have taken their first dose of the jab dropped to 18.3 million.
This figure was nearly 20 million earlier last week.
The vaccination rate among the public is particularly high in the country’s western provinces while some eastern and southeastern provinces are still lagging behind as the inoculation rates in the latter provinces are well below the country average.
For instance, in the northwestern province of Edirne, over 83 percent of the city’s adult residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine whereas the rate is nearly 92 percent in Muğla. However, in the southeastern provinces of Mardin and Şanlıurfa, the vaccination rates are as low as 48 percent and around 47 percent, respectively.
Yet, the eastern province of Tunceli and southeastern province of Hakkari stand out as the vaccination rates there stand at nearly 76 percent.
In those low-vaccinated provinces, such as Ağrı and Muş, local health officials have set up mobile teams to reach out to the people living in rural areas.
Turkey, which recorded the first COVID-19 case in March last year, launched its inoculation drive in mid-January, starting with healthcare workers and the elderly. Over the months, it has gradually lowered the eligibility age to reach social immunity.