Turkey, COVID-19 vaccination

Turkey lowers vaccination age to 35

Until date, and despite challenges of mass vaccination, more than 37 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been delivered in Turkey.

Turkey has reduced the vaccination age against the coronavirus pandemic to 35 years, as announced yesterday by the Turkish Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca. In this way, the Eurasian country continues with its campaign to administer vaccines against COVID-19, which began in mid-January and which to date has managed to inoculate 37 million doses of the Sinovac or Pfizer vaccine.

In total, so far more than 23 million Turks have received their first dose of the vaccine, while 14 million have received the both doses, according to data from the Health Ministry. The vaccination campaign was launched in January starting with health workers and the elderly, and since then the age limit from which an appointment for vaccination – which is voluntary and free – can be requested, has been going down.

Currently, people aged 40 and over can already make an appointment to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, either from Sinovac or from Pfizer; Turkey has also reached an agreement to purchase doses of Sputnik V, and several coronavirus vaccines developed by Turkish scientists are expected to be available by autumn.

The challenges of vaccination

One of the challenges faced by the vaccination campaign is the reluctance of some citizens to receive their dose of the vaccine, for which the Turkish authorities have launched awareness campaigns and are even considering restrictions for those who do not get vaccinated.

The supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is also a logistical challenge, since it has to be kept at a low temperatures and once diluted in solution for injection it should be stored between 2 ° C and 30 ° C, and supplied within 6 hours, otherwise the vaccine will lose its effectiveness.

In addition to announcing the start of vaccination for people aged 35 and over, the Health Minister offered late yesterday the latest data on the evolution of the pandemic in Turkey, confirming 6,221 new positives in the last 24 hours (548 of them with symptoms of COVID-19), which represents a small rebound compared to the previous day – Tuesday – in which 5,955 infections had been registered throughout the country.