“Please contact your friends, acquaintances…to convince them to get the vaccine so that we can increase the vaccination rates in those provinces…Help overcome vaccine hesitancy,” Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on Nov. 14.
In the eastern and southeastern provinces of Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Batman, Siirt, Bitlis, Muş, Bingöl and Ağrı, the vaccination rates are well below national average.
Less than 65 percent of the population aged 18 and above in those provinces have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Data from the Health Ministry show that nearly 80 percent of Turkey’s population aged 18 and above -or close to 56 million people- have been fully vaccinated.
Experts say that the vaccine hesitancy among the public is one of the main reasons that the pace of the vaccinations are not yet at desired levels.
Recently, Koca revealed that around 8.6 million people skipped their second and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to officials, there are 14 million citizens in the country aged over 12 who have not received a single dose of the jab. When refugees living in the country are added, some 20 people in the country are unvaccinated, they said.
The vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory in Turkey.
Officials stress that young people particularly are not responsive to calls for getting the shot while at the same this is the very same age group that mostly ignore the basic anti-virus rules, such as social distancing and wearing protective face masks.
As a result, most of the coronavirus cases are detected among young people and the unvaccinated but a majority of the deaths from COVID-19 occur among people aged above 65 and people with chronic diseases.
Turkey is giving the booster shots to the recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the jab developed by the Chinese Sinovac.
Hurriyet Daily News