Skepticism against the COVID-19 vaccine is increasingly seen everywhere around the world, resulting from the anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, making people reluctant and often fearful to get their vaccinations in a time when the world is in a state of jeopardy.
In a bid to get rid of vaccine skepticism, Turkey has launched a COVID-19 vaccination persuasion initiative within the scope of its vaccination program to encourage people to get vaccinated in time.
The doors of the people who declined invitations to get vaccinated could get knocked by officials in an attempt to convince them.
Vaccine persuasion teams were formed in different provinces across Turkey against the anti-vaccine movement, which has no scientific basis and is fed by nonsense spread on social media.
Daily Milliyet closely followed the vaccination campaign by participating in a one-day duty of a vaccination persuasion team serving under Istanbul’s Sultanbeyli District Governor’s Office.
The teams, including directors of public institutions, health care workers, mukhtars (headmen), school principals, teachers and imams, visit and give information about the necessity to get inoculated to those who are reluctant to encourage them to get the vaccine jab.
Officials from the team visited 65-year-old Sevgi Karakuş living in the district’s Akşemsettin neighborhood to inform her about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Karakuş was unwilling to get the vaccine at first, and on being asked about the reason behind her hesitation or if she was afraid, Karakuş said: “I don’t want to be vaccinated. I’m not afraid of the vaccine. I protect myself. I can’t find time either.”
Officials not giving up their efforts tried to convince and make her aware of the COVID-19 vaccines, following which she eventually agreed to get the shot.
Many people the persuasion teams encounter appear to be hesitant to get vaccinated because of fears it will trigger and affect other health problems such as diabetes, blood pressure and fertility.
Subsequently, the officers visited the home of another elderly citizen, Abdülselam Gazgâr, who declined the vaccination invitation.
A religious officer in the team told Gazgâr that the Religious Affairs Directorate issued a fatwa regarding the vaccine, and there was no religious objection.
Gazgar denied the offer at first, saying: “Nothing will happen with vaccination. God Almighty has given fate. Life is also limited. It ends when it is over.”
However, he was eventually convinced and taken to the hospital to receive his jab as a result of the long persuasion by officials.
As a result of the field works, 27,462 doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered to 15,533 citizens over 65 years of age in Sultanbeyli. And the vaccination rate of citizens over 65 increased to 80.1 percent.
Turkey rolled out its vaccination program on Jan. 14. To date, it has administered nearly 25.6 million doses of COVID-19 injections.
According to data from the Health Ministry, more than 14.8 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while another 10.8 million people have been given both doses.
Hurriyet Daily News