“Some 17 million people have not been given the second dose while another 9 million people, who have received two doses, have skipped their appointments for the third dose,” Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on July 25.
Turkey rolled out its massive vaccination program in mid-January, starting with health care workers and the elderly. Over the months, the eligibility age for the vaccine has been gradually reduced to as low as 16.
“The increase in virus cases continues and this may result in higher hospitalization. The only way to avoid this is to get the shot and comply with the anti-virus measures. Do not postpone, get vaccinated,” Koca wrote in a separate tweet.
Meanwhile health professionals have urged the nation to get vaccinated in a bid to tackle the pandemic as the number of new COVID-19 cases has gradually risen over the past few days.
“The incidence of the disease will become permanent even if the spread of the pandemic decreases unless the vaccination rate is the same everywhere,” said İsmail Balık, a microbiologist from Ankara University Faculty of Medicine.
Balık said that those still not vaccinated should feel responsible for the continuation of the pandemic and the deaths.
Warning that only two doses of the vaccine can protect against the big wave and deaths due to the delta variant, the academic suggested that promotional gifts can be given to those who have been vaccinated with a double dose.
“Those who are vaccinated with a double dose should be given free tickets at concerts and matches. For example, 20 percent of the seats can be awarded by drawing lots,” he added.
Tevfik Özlü, a health professional from the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, has also warned that the population who had the double dose vaccine should reach 60-70 percent.
“If we can provide this, we can safely wait for the autumn season. We can open our schools, we can live our lives normally,” Özlü added.
Hurriyet Daily News