Istanbul hopes to complete COVID vaccinations in July

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Vaccinations against COVID-19 in Istanbul, the country’s largest city with a population of some 16 million, are expected to be completed in early July, its provincial health director has said.

Some 9.5 million residents of the city should be inoculated, and to date, more than 6.5 million doses of the jab have been administered in Istanbul, according to Professor Kemal Memişoğlu.

“Around 2.5 million people have been fully vaccinated, and the inoculations of the remaining population will be completed toward the first week of July,” he added.

Memişoğlu said that the city has enough injections in stock to carry out its own vaccination program.

“Presently, we are able to administer the second doses of [the Chinese] Sinovac vaccines and hopefully we will offer the Sinovac as the first doses nest week. We have no problems regarding the availability of the BioNTech jabs,” he added.

Turkey is using the vaccines developed by the Chinese pharmaceuticals company Sinovac and Pfizer/BioNTech.

“We are very happy to see people coming to get their shots. The level of demand for the vaccines is very pleasing,” Memişoğlu added.

Istanbul, the country’s financial and trade hub, was once the epicenter of COVID-19 in Turkey. However, the city has seen the cases decline gradually since April when the infections hit record highs not only in Istanbul but across Turkey.

The latest weekly provincial COVID-19 statistics Health Minister Fahrettin Koca unveiled on June 17 showed that the number of cases per 100,000 people in Istanbul was a little more than 55 between June 5 and June 11, whereas the corresponding figure for April 24 and April 30 was as high as 532.

Breakneck speed in jabbing

According to the latest weekly map Koca released, the cases in 17 provinces increased but declined in 64 other provinces of the country.

“The downward trend in the cases continue even though the pace of the decline slowed,” the minister said on Twitter.

“[The pandemic] will end with vaccinations,” Koca added.

Meanwhile, the country’s vaccination drive continues at a breakneck speed.

Another record 1.58 million doses of jabs were given over a space of 24 hours, the minister announced on June 17.
“At this speed, this job will get done quickly,” Koca wrote on Twitter.

This week, the inoculation drive gathered more pace as the eligibility age for the jab was further lowered, leading to a record number of injections in consecutive days.

“Yesterday, we reached the highest number of vaccinations in the world according to the number of daily vaccinations per 1 million people,” Koca tweeted, referring to 1.41 million vaccine shots given on June 16.

Turkey has administered more than 39.3 million doses since it rolled out the vaccination drive on Jan. 14. Over 25.1 million people have received a first dose of the injection while more than 14.2 million have been fully vaccinated.

Hurriyet Daily News

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