Turkey, coronavirus vaccination

Turkey begins a new phase against coronavirus with 3rd dose of the vaccine

3rd dose will be administered to health workers and citizens from 50 years of age on. There is concern about the Delta variant of the virus.

Turkey begins on July 1 a new phase in the fight against the coronavirus, with the end of many restrictions and curfews, and the beginning of the administration of the third dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, beginning by health workers and citizens aged 50 and over.

According to an announcement last night by the Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, more than 15 million Turkish citizens already have both doses of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, while 35 million people have received at least one dose, which places Turkey among the countries in the world with the highest vaccination rate, with more than one million doses delivered per day.

For now, the third dose is being applied to those who once received the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, with which Turkey initially started the vaccination campaign in January; the minister also announced that those who have already received the first dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine – the second acquired by Turkey – will receive their second dose in the coming weeks.

Regarding the vaccination plan for those people who have passed the COVID-19 disease, Koca explained that although the initial plan was to offer them a vaccine 6 months after having overcome the disease, the current criteria is that they can be vaccinated only after 3 months.

Turkey already registers more than 200 cases of the Delta variant

Regarding the Delta variant originated in India, up to 60% more contagious than the British variant and causing more hospitalisations, the minister reported that so far 224 cases have been detected in 26 provinces of the country. Although for now the number of infections is marginal, the forecast in Turkey as in the rest of Europe is that in August it will already represent 90% of all new infections, due to its greater transmissibility.

Among the measures that Turkey has already taken to stop the expansion of the Delta variant and other mutations of the coronavirus is the suspension of flights from 6 countries since Monday: Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka; in addition, passengers arriving from abroad are subjected to random PCR tests, even when they bring a previous negative test. Experts warn that to be protected against possible new variants of the virus, more than 60% of the population must have received two doses of the vaccine before September.