Turkey’s opposition lawmakers and social media users are blasting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he announced that he received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at a time when 50 million people in the country are waiting to receive their first jab.
The Turkish president, during a live interview on Tuesday on state broadcaster TRT said that he had received three doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
“I checked to see if there was an increase in my antibody levels. I reached 2,160 (units per milliliter), thank God,” he said.
Turkey, with a population of 84 million, has administered over 29.25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass inoculation drive in January, according to data from the Health Ministry.
More than 16.6 million people have received their first doses, while over 12.5 million have been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, but the country is battling an acute shortage of vaccines, according to Turkish media reports.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Monday announced that the country was set to receive 12 million doses of BioNTech vaccine by mid-June.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Özgür Özel asked where Erdoğan had found the right to receive extra doses of the jab, when even the country’s healthcare workers were unable to do so.
“You must provide an explanation if you received your shot at the end of 2020, when the vaccine was not available to anybody in the country,’’Diken news site cited Özel as saying.
Erdoğan received his first shot on Jan. 14, followed by his second jab on Feb. 11. It is not known when he received his third shot.
CHP deputy group chairman Engin Özkoç in a tweet the Turkish president over the triple shots, saying, there were over 50 million people in the country who had yet to receive their first doses.
Vatandaşa 1 doz bile yok, Erdoğan’a 3 doz aşı…
— Engin Özkoç (@enginozkoc) June 1, 2021
“It appears as though all AKP members have been vaccinated. And here we are wondering why there are no vaccines left,’’ one Twitter user said.
Akplilerin hepsi oldu demek, bizde diyoruz aşı niye yok.
— M.E. Demirtaş (@DemirtasEjder) June 1, 2021
“Us teachers are yet to receive our first doses,’’ another user said
Biz öğretmenler hala bir doz bile olamadık!
— oyku_usta (@oyku_usta) June 1, 2021
“If only all those people who died had been able to receive the vaccine before their deaths,’’ one user said.
The pandemic has claimed over 47,000 lives in Turkey. The country on Wednesday registered 7,181 new cases over the last 24 hours and 112 deaths linked to the deadly virus, according Health Ministry data.