Over 80 mln doses of jab administered

Over 80 mln doses of jab administered

Over 80 mln doses of jab administered

The number of COVID-19 jabs administered in Turkey that began the massive inoculation program in mid-January, has exceeded 80 million doses with over 31 million people fully vaccinated.

Nearly 43 million people have received their first doses against the coronavirus, while some 6 million people have been given their third doses of the jab, data from the Health Ministry showed.

The country’s vaccination drive appears to have gained some momentum recently.

On Aug. 9, more than 1.5 million doses of the COVID-19 jab were administered, marking the third highest daily figure on record, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, noting that another 1.4 million doses were given on Aug. 10.

Koca also noted that two more provinces joined the list of low-risk provinces, as the vaccination rate among the residents aged 18 and above has reached at least 75 percent in Bartın and Burdur.

There are now a total of 17 low-risk provinces in Turkey, with the western province of Muğla topping the list at 90 percent vaccination.

In Istanbul, the country’s largest city by population and the commercial center, the vaccination rate is nearly 68 percent, while in Ankara it is close to 76 percent.

In the country’s third largest province, İzmir, the rate is close to 77 percent.

However, Koca on Aug. 10 made a stark warning that the country must bring the spread of virus under control as the number of daily COVID-19 cases still hovers well above 20,000.

“Complacent behavior, coupled with lack of vaccine induced immunity, only produces a vicious circle. Get vaccinated. Stick to the anti-virus rules. We must bring the increase in virus cases under control,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

The minister has been repeatedly warning the public about the pandemic outlook and urging people to get their shots.

The official data show that the number of daily COVID-19 infections, which dropped below 6,000 in mid-June, has been hovering above 20,000 since the end of last month, hitting 26,822 on Aug. 4, the highest level since the first week of May.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Football Federation has announced that only fully vaccinated fans and those who provide a negative PCR test will be allowed to attend football games.

It also said that those aged below 12 will not be allowed to attend the games since they cannot take a PCR test due to regulations.

Officials are discussing plans as to how to contain the spread of virus especially before schools reopen on Sept. 6.

Some authorities have floated the idea of requiring PCR tests for people to allow into indoor public venues. Officials expect the daily infections to climb to over 30,000 by the time schools resume in-class education. However, they apparently, at least for the time being, do not consider other stricter measures, such as curfews, this autumn, but they said plans could be revised depending on the course of the pandemic.