Top health officials and experts have been urging the public to get their shots for weeks as the country’s jab drive, which gained considerable momentum during summer, has lost steam. Officials are now particularly worried about the threats from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the first cases of which have already been detected in Turkey.
Data from the Health Ministry show that, to date, more than 51 million people, or over 82 percent of the population aged 18 and above, have been given two doses of the vaccine against the deadly virus. Close to 57 million people, which corresponds to 91 percent of the adult population, have received at least one dose of the jab.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has repeatedly been reminding people that they should get the booster shots amid the emergence of the Omicron strain as it is the best protection available.
However, only a little more than 14 million people have visited health institutions to get the booster shot.
Turkey last week decided to shorten the booster shot interval to three months from the previous six months.
Data from the ministry showed that soon after Koca announced the decision regarding the booster shots, the number of doses given in a single day climbed to more than 750,000 on Dec. 17, but it declined again in the following days.
People can choose between Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine and the Chinese firm Sinovac’s inactivated jab.
“We are at a point where the impact of the pandemic cannot be measured by numbers. COVID-19 affects all spheres of life. The fight against the pandemic means defending life; we need to put the pandemic behind as soon as possible,” Koca tweeted on Dec. 19.
Turkey has been seen a sudden surge in daily infections over the past weeks. The number of daily COVID-19 cases has been hovering at around 20,000 since early December.
Hurriyet Daily News