As the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 contagion spreads, Turkey is urging citizens who are eligible to get their booster shots as soon as possible, Hurriyet Daily News reported on Friday.
“Our citizens who have already received either the inactivated or the mRNA vaccines at least three months ago are now eligible for the booster shot,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a statement.
Turkey recorded the first cases of Omicron in the country a week ago.
Koca said the Health Ministry’s Science Board had discussed the possible effects the latest Omicron variant of the coronavirus could have on Turkey and concluded that those who are eligible for booster shots should take them to prevent a new surge of the virus in Turkey.
The minister also pointed out that while this new variant is more transmissible, it does not appear to cause more severe infection. Nevertheless, he said anti-virus measures should be continually observed.
Almost 13 million people in Turkey have already received the third booster dose. Over 51 million people have received at least two doses, which Hurriyet points out is about 82 percent of the population aged 18 and above. At least 56 million people have gotten at least one vaccine dose, which amounts to 91 percent of the country’s adult population.
“We are seeing the benefits of being one of the countries in the world that started at an early stage to give the third booster doses,” Koca said. “The daily number of infections has not exhibited sharp increases, and this shows the success of the vaccine program.”