WHO official praises Turkey’s vaccination drive
Since the inoculation drive began in mid-January, Turkey has administered nearly 52.5 million doses of the vaccine. Almost 17 million people have been fully inoculated, while some 36 million have received the first dose of the COVID-19 jab.
“We observe a very positive trend with the rate of vaccination in Turkey,” Batyr Berdyklychev told the state-run Anadolu Agency on July 3, adding that the country was one of the leading nations in terms of vaccination coverage.
Vaccination has been made available for all age groups in the country where many people are receiving their second doses, and with the third booster dose on the way, Berdyklychev said: “This is extremely important.”
The country started to give a third dose of the injection to health workers and those aged 50 and above last week.
Experts say that people who received the Sinovac vaccine will be given priority for the third vaccine dose and that for the time being, there is no need to administer the third dose to those who received the BioNTech jab.
In line with the decisions of the Health Ministry’s Science Board, those who recovered from COVID-19 will be administered only one dose of the BioNTech vaccine.
Last week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that Turkey was aiming to give at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70 percent of its population by the end of July.
The WHO official also praised celebrities encouraging people to receive vaccines, saying: “We see how necessary it is.”
The country’s Health Ministry has been running videos featuring local musicians, actors and other celebrities, calling on citizens to get their jabs against the coronavirus.
COVID-19 has infected more than 5.4 million people in Turkey since mid-March when the first case was reported in the country. The death toll from the pandemic, on the other hand, has neared 50,000.
The country saw a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in April, forcing the government to introduce tighter restrictions, including weekend lockdowns. However, after authorities imposed a full nationwide lockdown between April 29 and May 17, the injections started to decline in the following weeks, also thanks to the fast-track vaccinations.
Data from the Health Ministry show that the daily virus cases have been below 6,000 since mid-June.